Toyota posts £1.4bn profit as car sales start to recover

EMBATTLED Japanese carmaker Toyota celebrated a return to profitability yesterday and lifted its full year guidance despite facing a crippling recall of its vehicles earlier in the year.

The Tokyo based manufacturer posted a first-quarter net profit of 190.47bn yen (£1.38bn) marking a u-turn from the same period last year when it fell into the red by 77.82bn yen. Group revenues increased 27 per cent on last year to 4,872bn yen.

Despite suffering severe reputational damage after recalling more than 10m cars because of safety problems earlier this year, Toyota raised its guidance for the year to the end of March, 2011 and said it expects net profit to hit 330bn yen.

The revision is now 50bn yen higher than the group previously anticipated and reflects Toyota’s expectations that it will sell more vehicles this year.

However, Toyota remains cautious about the second half of the year, despite posting profit growth in the first quarter, with expectations that costs are likely to rise.

President Akio Toyoda vowed to put the recall debacle that has monopolised his first year as chief executive behind him, calling 2010 a fresh “starting line” for the 73-year-old firm founded by his grandfather.