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Toyota Taps the Brakes

Profit rises just 9% in the latest quarter.

Toyota (TM) - Get Toyota Motor Corp. Sponsored ADR Report posted a soft first quarter as a slowing U.S. vehicle market weighed on the fast-growing car company's results.

Toyota said group profit rose 9% from a year ago in the latest quarter to $3.7 billion, but operating profit fell 2.8% from a year ago as raw-materials costs and spending on quality control rose. Sales rose 10% from a year ago in the quarter ended in March to $52.5 billion.

Last month, Toyota claimed the title of the world's biggest automaker by volume for the first time ever, inching past longtime king

General Motors

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by some 90,000 first-quarter units. But sales in the U.S. have slowed across the board, as even Toyota reported earlier this month that April sales dropped to 210,000 vehicles from 219,000 a year ago.