Toyota's profits up by 17 per cent
11 May 2006

Toyota's successes continue to mount: its profits have risen by 17 per cent to £6.7 billion for the year to 31 March.

The last five years have seen sales increases of 500,000 cars a year for the Japanese manufacturer. It expects to sell 8.45 million in this fiscal year.

Troubled General Motors sold 9.17 million vehicles last year, but its plans do not include the rapid expansion that Toyota expects to take its own sales to 10.3 million by 2010.

The weakness of the yen led to a 39 per cent surge in profits in the last quarter. Nevertheless, Toyota is the most profitable manufacturing company in the world and would have posted substantial profits without this boost.

A third of its profits came from the United States, where sales growth of 12.5 per cent has been double Toyota's global average. Those sales have been particularly buoyed by hybrid sales, which totalled 263,000 worldwide. Toyota predicts its global hybrid sales will be 1 million by 2010.

Analysts credit Toyota's investment in research and development as part of the reason for the company's success. It will spend £4.5 billion in this area this year.

Toyota's growth has come at the price of a sharp increase in recalls, however. There were thirteen last year covering 2.2 million vehicles.

The manufacturer predicts a slowing in profits this year thanks to a stronger yen.

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