Toyota cuts loss forecast on better sales

Toyota cuts loss forecast on better sales

Tokyo: Toyota Motor announced on Tuesday that a smaller than expected first-quarter loss and upgraded its outlook for the rest of the year, offering another glimmer of hope for the battered industry.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, announced a net loss of ¥77.82 billion ($817 million) for the April-June quarter, marking a dramatic turnaround from a year-earlier profit of ¥353.66 billion .

But the company slashed its losses drastically compared with January-March when it had plunged ¥765.8 billion into the red. It also easily beat market forecasts for a shortfall of more than ¥200 billion in the first quarter.

Toyota posted an operating loss of ¥194.86 billion for April-June, against a year-earlier profit of ¥412.59 billion . Revenue fell 38.3% to ¥3.84 trillion .

The Japanese giant painted a less gloomy picture of prospects for the rest of the business year to March 2010 thanks to a brighter outlook for car sales.

Toyota, which last year suffered its first annual loss, now expects to sell 6.6 million vehicles in the year, up from a previous goal of 6.5 million.

It narrowed its net loss forecast to ¥450 billion from ¥550 billion and revised its operating loss projection to ¥750 billion from ¥850 billion.

The company joins Honda, Japan’s number two automaker, in upgrading its outlook for the year.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors last year as the world’s top selling automaker, has actively expanded its global production network in recent years to meet brisk demand, particularly for fuel-efficient cars.

But it has been forced it to idle plants and slash thousands of jobs as it tries to weather the worst global downturn in decades.

Toyota plans to expand its line up of fuel-sipping hybrid cars and cut costs as part of efforts to return to profit.