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Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007

Toyota April-June sales top GM's for first time

Staff writer

Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday that it generated a record ¥6.5 trillion in group sales for the April-June quarter, up 15.7 percent from the previous year and topping General Motors Corp. for the first time ever in the period.

GM's sales for the April-June period came to $46.81 billion (¥5.58 trillion).

Toyota posted a record ¥491.5 billion in group net profit for the quarter, up 32.3 percent from the same period last year, thanks to vigorous overseas sales. Its consolidated operating profit jumped 31.8 percent to ¥675.4 billion from the same period last year.

A weaker yen pushed up the operating profit by ¥100 billion, the automaker said.

"We would like to maintain a two-digit operating margin even if the yen becomes stronger," said Takeshi Suzuki, Toyota's senior managing director. Toyota's operating margin was 10.4 percent in the period.

Suzuki also said Toyota will operate its factories over holidays from September to November to make up for the 60,000 vehicles it fell behind on due to a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Niigata Prefecture on July 16.

Toyota and other Japanese carmakers had to halt output for a few days because the quake forced Riken Corp., a key piston ring supplier, to idle 11 plants in the prefecture.

"It may affect our midterm financial report a bit, but not the full-year report," Suzuki said.

In the half to June, Toyota sold 4.72 million units worldwide, topping GM's 's 4.67 million units. Forecasts of the two companies indicate Toyota will top GM in terms of sales units for the full year.

In North America, Toyota sold 762,000 units in April-June, lifting operating profit to ¥160 billion, up from ¥140 billion in the same period last year.

Information from Kyodo added

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