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Toyota’s quarterly profit down on COVID parts crunch

TOKYO (AP) – Toyota’s profit declined 31 per cent in the January-March quarter from the year before, but the Japanese automaker still wrapped up a year of record earnings.

Toyota Motor Corp reported on Wednesday a profit of JPY533.8 billion (USD4.1 billion) in the last quarter, down from JPY777.1 billion the previous fiscal year. Quarterly sales rose nearly six per cent to JPY8.1 trillion (USD62 billion).

Toyota and other automakers have been struggling to keep up with customer demand for their products due to global parts shortages caused by the corona-virus pandemic.

The company still sold 8.2 million vehicles around the world during the fiscal year through March, up from 7.6 million vehicles in the previous fiscal year.

For the fiscal year, Toyota racked up a JPY2.85-trillion (USD21.9-billion) profit, up nearly 27 per cent from JPY2.25 trillion the year before.

The logo of Toyota at a show room in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

Toyota said its profits got a boost from a favourable exchange rate. A weaker yen helps lift the performance of Japanese exporters like Toyota when overseas earnings are converted into yen.

Toyota’s operating income increased across global markets, including Japan, North America, Europe and the rest of Asia.

The company said it’s expecting vehicle sales to grow in all regions in coming months. It also plans to boost electric vehicle sales, as customers show more interest in sustainability goals.

For the fiscal year through March 2023, Toyota forecast a profit of JPY2.26 trillion (USD17 billion), 20 per cent lower than the fiscal year that ended in March. It expects soaring materials costs to cut into its profits.

Toyota warned the various effects of COVID-19 have hurt its operations and added to uncertainty over what lays ahead.