Toyota nine-month net profit more than doubles to $19b on yen drop, surging sales

A showroom staff member walks under a logo of Toyota Motor Corp at its showroom in Tokyo, on Feb 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A showroom staff member walks under a logo of Toyota Motor Corp at its showroom in Tokyo, on Feb 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Toyota is on track for a record annual profit as it announced its nine-month net earnings more than doubled to 1.52 trillion yen (S$19 billion) on a sharp drop in the yen and surging overseas sales.

The world's biggest automaker reported sales of 19.12 trillion yen - propelled by a fivefold jump in third-quarter earnings. It also boosted a fiscal year-to-March profit forecast to a record 1.9 trillion yen.

Japanese automakers have been big winners over the past year as a sharp drop in the yen inflated exporters' repatriated profits, further boosted by improved overseas demand. Toyota has ramped up its bid to tap emerging markets, while key US demand has also been on the upswing, helping the firm book ever-increasing profits.

"In addition to the positive impact of the weaker yen, our operating income increased due to marketing efforts such as increased vehicle sales and cost reduction activities through collaboration with our suppliers," Toyota managing officer Takuo Sasaki said in a statement.

Last month, Toyota kept the title of world's biggest automaker with calendar-year 2013 sales of 9.98 million vehicles, outpacing Germany's Volkswagen and General Motors, and said it expects this year to become the first automaker to break the 10 million-vehicle sales barrier.

Toyota broke GM's decades-long reign as world's top automaker in 2008 but lost the crown three years later as Japan's quake-tsunami disaster hammered production and disrupted the supply chains of Japanese automakers.