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Old 02-08-2006, 02:57 PM   #1
Scooby Guru
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OMGHi2U Toyota profit jumps on soaring sales


TOKYO - Toyota Motor, the world's most profitable car-maker, posted a 14 per cent rise in quarterly profit as sales raced ahead in overseas markets and a weaker yen boosted the value of earnings from outside Japan.

Brisk demand for cars such as the Prius hybrid - still in short supply after two years - and cost-cutting efforts have helped Japan's biggest car-maker absorb a hefty build-up in capital spending on new and expanded manufacturing facilities worldwide.

With key new models such as the Camry and Lexus LS sedans to be rolled out in the lucrative US market soon, analysts expect further gains for Toyota as it closes the gap with General Motors as the world's top seller of cars.

Tough competition from Asian brands has GM and Ford Motor's core automotive operations reeling under losses, forcing America's top two car-makers to call for massive job cuts and plant closures.

Toyota, which the market values at US$185 billion ($275 billion) - more than DaimlerChrysler, Honda and Nissan combined - had an operating profit of 482.21 billion ($6.04 billion) for October-December, narrowly missing a mean estimate of 485 billion yen in a survey of four brokerages by Reuters Estimates.

Net profit surged 34.1 per cent to 397.57 billion thanks to a rise in the value of its stake in former UFJ Holdings after the bank's merger to form the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Revenue grew 14.8 per cent to 5.33 trillion.

Toyota does not provide group-based profit forecasts but said three months ago that it expected to beat last year's record even at a now-conservative US dollar rate of 110 for the year to end-March. The US dollar is trading at around 118.

Toyota's domestic rivals, Nissan and Honda, also reported better third-quarter earnings last week, helped by the yen's depreciation against several currencies.

Thus proving that GM & Ford's finacial woes are entirely their own fault.
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