Toyota breaks records in a sluggish global automotive market – Le Point

Despite the current global market meltdown, affected in particular by the slowdown in the Chinese economy, the Japanese giant Toyota has posted record results in the first half, thanks in particular to cost reductions and commercial actions, and confirmed its 2019-2020 forecasts. Its net profit over the period from April to the end of September rose 2.6% to 1,274.9 billion yen (10.6 billion euros), according to a statement. This growth is due to an even greater improvement in operating profit (+ 11.3% to 1,404.3 billion yen), thanks in particular to cost reductions, sales support efforts and accounting gains. The turnover from April to the end of September amounted to 15,285.5 billion yen (more than 127 billion euros at the current rate), up 4.2% year-on-year. This is the best first half of the group's history in terms of net profit and sales, the group said.

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"We are grateful. Because of our efforts to improve, many consumers have chosen Toyota vehicles. The latest results show it, "Mitsuru Kawai, one of the group's top executives, told a news conference in Tokyo. Sales of its new models, including the Rav4 hybrid SUV, "have been robust in Japan, North America and Europe," said Kenta Kon, one of the group's operational managers. conference.

Higher earnings expected

Toyota confirmed Thursday its 2019-2020 outlook, which it had lowered in August. It is still aiming for a net profit of 2,150 billion yen (+ 14.2% compared to that of 2018-2019), for an operating gain of 2.4 trillion yen (-2.7%) and sales. 29.5 trillion yen (-2.4%). In the first half of the year, however, operating profit declined in Asia (excluding Japan), mainly due to negative currency effects, mainly due to the decline of the Chinese yuan. And the group has very slightly reduced its annual sales volume target, to 10.70 million vehicles all brands (Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, Hino …), 30,000 fewer units than its previous forecast.

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Mr Kon justified this slight downward revision of volumes by the slowdown in the Asian car market. However, he said the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing had "no direct impact at the moment" on the group's activity in China. "The demand for hybrid vehicles, the strong point of Toyota, remains high" in the world while the 100% electric vehicles are still in a transition phase, had reminded AFP before the results Satoru Takada, an analyst of the Japanese consulting company TIW.

The threat of new customs taxes moves away

The unfinished business negotiations between the United States and Japan "remain a potential threat to Japanese automakers," the same analyst said. A preliminary trade agreement was reached at the end of September between the two countries, mainly on agricultural products, while the thorny issue of Japanese auto exports – the main cause of the chronic US trade deficit with the Japanese archipelago – was left behind. outstanding. On Sunday, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the US may not need to impose additional customs duties on automobiles from Japan. Toyota is also less exposed than other foreign manufacturers to this threat: in 2018, about 50% of its vehicles sold in the United States were produced locally, where the group has ten plants. The giant also announced Thursday a new share buyback program for 200 billion yen maximum (1.66 billion euros). This appealed to investors: its stock rose on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as soon as its earnings were published and rose by 1.13% to 7,736 yen at closing.

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