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Toyota's quarterly loss worse than GM's

TOYOTA Motor Corp lost 765.8 billion yen (US$7.7 billion) in the January-March quarter - a bigger loss than General Motors reported - completing its worst fiscal year since the Japanese auto maker was founded in 1937.

Toyota also estimated yesterday that because of the global auto slump its net loss would deepen in the current fiscal year to 550 billion yen from 436.94 billion yen in the just-ended fiscal year.

President Katsuaki Watanabe said the results were caused by significant deterioration in vehicle sales in the United States and Europe, the strong yen and the rising cost of raw materials.

The quarterly loss - down from a profit of 316.8 billion yen a year ago - was bigger than the full-year loss because it had some positive quarters earlier in the fiscal year.

For much of last year, Toyota's sales were booming, thanks to the popularity of its Camry sedan and Prius hybrid. It even overtook General Motors Corp to become the world's biggest auto maker by annual sales.

But Toyota's business has been hit hard by the US financial crisis and credit crunch which caused people to put off buying new cars.


The red ink for the full year was worse than Toyota's own forecast for a 350 billion yen net loss, and a stunning reversal from the record profit of 1.72 trillion yen it chalked up the previous fiscal year.

Sales for the fiscal year sank 21.9 percent to 20.529 trillion yen. In the year ahead, Toyota reckons it will sell about 1 million fewer vehicles, with revenues sliding 19.6 percent to 16.5 trillion yen.

Toyota's quarterly loss even eclipsed GM's US$6 billion for the same quarter - although the Japanese manufacturer is on far stronger capital footing than GM because of its historical profits.


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