Toyota Motor Co. (TM - Get Report) posted slightly weaker-than-expected profits for its fiscal second quarter Tuesday, but said a weaker yen, accelerated cost cuts and improving markets in China and North America should boost full year profits.
Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, said operating profit for the three months ending in September rose 11% to 579.1 billion yen ($5.11 billion) as net global revenues jumped 2.35% to 7.35 billion yen. However, while the second quarter profit figure fell modestly shy of expectations, Toyota reduced its dollar/yen exchange rate forecast for the second half of its fiscal year, which ends in March, and lifted its full-year profit outlook by 4.3% to 2.4 billion yen, even as it kept is unit sale forecast unchanged at 8.9 million.
"We are steadily making progress towards achieving our challenge-level target (for cost reductions)", said senior managing officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi. "In order to achieve this at the end of this financial year and continue strengthening our earning power, we will accelerate our activities throughout the second half of this financial year across the regions."
Toyota shares closed 2.09% higher in Tokyo trading Tuesday at 6,630 yen each, a move that trims their year-to-date decline to around 8.1% compared to slides of 14.1% for rival Honda Motor Co. (HMC - Get Report) and 18.66% for Mazda Motor Corp. (MZDAY) .
Toyota lowered its full-year exchange rate forecast for the yen against the dollar to 110 from the 106 level it estimated at the end of its first quarter earnings in July. Over the July to September quarter, the yen fell 2.73% against the dollar and currently trades at around 113.25
Toyota said global unit sales rose just under 2% to 4.42 million, while sales in Asia rose 9.2% thanks to a 20% surge in China, where the carmaker appears to have bucked the trend of slowing growth in the world's biggest car market.
China's auto market is showing persistent signs of weakness as the impact of the U.S.-China war bites, and car sales fell 11.6% in September to 2.39 million units, the biggest slump in at least seven years, according to official data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Ford Motor Co. (F - Get Report) as well as General Motors (GM - Get Report) may also be vulnerable to any disruption in the China supply chain should Beijing -- or President Donald Trump -- up the stakes in their current trade standoff that has slapped tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of goods. U.S. International Trade Administration data showed that U.S. automakers imported $18 billion worth of car parts from China last year, including nearly a third of all braking system components.