Toyota has predicted that it will make a loss for the first time since 1941, when the company first reported on its financial performance.
Toyota is widely considered to be one of the best-managed car companies in the world. News that it’s struggling will send shockwaves through the motor industry.
The operating loss, announced this morning by company boss Katsuaki Watanabe, totalled 150bn yen (£1.1bn) up to the end of Toyota’s financial year in March.
“The change that has hit the world economy is of a critical scale that comes once in a hundred years,” said Watanabe.
Toyota is still expected to make a net profit of 50bn yen (£375m), although that figure is a huge drop from the projected 550bn yen (£4bn) at the start of the year. It now expects to sell 8.96 million vehicles globally this year, down 4 per cent from last year.
In a statement, the company said falling car sales had been “far faster, wider and deeper than expected”.
Much of the problem stems from America, where the car market has almost completely collapsed, eating into Toyota’s export margins.