Toyota has become the first Japanese company to post profits of more than ¥1 trillion, having announced full-year profits of ¥1.16 trillion (about £5.7bn) last week.The 55 per cent jump in profits was credited to a successful efficiency programme and strong sales in Europe, which rose to 898,000, up by 122,000 on the previous year.

President Fujio Cho said growing sales meant that most of Toyota’s factories were operating at or near capacity, making them more profitable. The strongest area of growth in Europe was from sales of Yaris, Corolla and Avensis.

Meanwhile, Fiat is on the road to recovery. Last week it said first-quarter losses had halved, helped by cost-cutting and a recovery in car sales.

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