Toyota smashes forecasts but sticks to cautious growth plan

 
City A.M. Reporter
JAPANESE car maker Toyota refuses to be tempted away from its low-risk growth strategy, even as the world’s bestselling carmaker met its mid-term profit goals in the year ended March, and foresees even higher earnings this fiscal year.

Toyota yesterday posted an annual operating profit of 1.32 trillion yen (£8.59bn) with an operating margin of around six per cent, beating a market that had expected 1.26 trillion yen profit.

After recovering from a damaging safety recall in 2010 and a huge earthquake in 2011 in Japan that disrupted supply chains, Toyota booked record group-wide sales of 9.7m vehicles in 2012.

“The wind that was blowing against us is calming down, and we can hear some saying that it is the time for us to take the offensive,” said the firm’s president Akio Toyoda yesterday.

“But I think we are just standing at the startline of sustainable growth,” he added.

Evidence of Toyoda’s caution is his fresh policy to build no new factories for the next three years, a sharp contrast with rival Honda.