Toyota Motor (TM) lifted its earnings guidance for the ongoing year on a weaker yen and expectations for higher sales volume a week after losing its position as the top global automaker to Volkswagen (VLKAY) .
Japan's largest company by market value raised its net profit outlook for the year ending March to ¥1.7 trillion ($15.1 billion) from ¥1.55 trillion on sales of ¥26.5 trillion, which were upgraded from ¥26.0 trillion. The automaker also raised its operating profit outlook to ¥1.85 trillion from ¥1.7 trillion. The company now assumes an ¥107 to the dollar and ¥118 to the euro on an annual average.
Still, the maker of the Prius and Corolla models would be facing year-on-year declines at all levels, down 6.7% for sales, down 35.2% at the operating level and down 26.5% at the net level if its forecasts prove correct.
The upgrade comes amid a tense time for the automaker, which has been threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump with high border taxes if it went ahead with its plans to build a Mexican plant to sell its Corolla model in the U.S. Toyota has since announced a plan for additional investments into its Indiana plant.
The revision was announced alongside third quarter results. In the nine months through December, Toyota booked net profit of ¥1.4 trillion on sales of ¥20 trillion, each down 24.0% and 6.0% from the same period a year ago.
Sales dropped in all regions, with the biggest decline seen in North America, while operating profit plunged nearly 50% for the domestic business. The automaker's efforts to cut costs were not enough to offset the drags from the currency market.
Toyota also said Monday that it will start formal talks on a business alliance with Suzuki Motor (SZKMY) in the areas of green vehicles, safety technologies, among others.
Suzuki, which has a strong presence in India, had sought a tie-up with Volkswagen but they had parted ways following an alleged breach of contract by the Japanese automaker on the purchase of diesel engines.
The moves follow an increase in full year profit guidance from Honda Motor (HMC) last week as cost cuts at Japan's third-biggest automaker, coupled with a weaker yen, continue to boost sales.
Honda sees full-year profits of around ¥785 billion ($6.9 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March, a 27% increase from last year and well ahead of the ¥753 billion tally forecast by analysts. The make of the CRV sport utility vehicle expects to shift just over 5 million cars globally in it fiscal year, up from a prior estimate of 4.98 million, thanks in part to accelerating sales in China and the broader Asia region.
The upgrades, however, comes at a sensitive time for Japanese automakers, which have found themselves, along the government, at the sharp end of criticism from President Donald Trump for erecting trade barriers in their domestic markets and using low-cost manufacturing bases to import cars into the United States.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is slated to meet President Donald Trump later week in Washington as the world's third largest economy finds itself the latest target of the administration's attack on global trade agreements.
Toyota shares closed at ¥6,493 each Monday in Tokyo, up 0.74% on the session and extending their three month gain to nearly 14%.