Toyota Motor Corp.
) plans to unveil 21 gas-electric hybrid models by 2015, most of
them having a similarity with its widely acclaimed Prius. As many
as 14 vehicles among these hybrids will be all new.
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This apart, Toyota plans to launch a fuel cell vehicle, which runs
on hydrogen to produce electricity, by 2015. It also plans to
launch an electric compact car eQ, based on its iQ model, in
December this year in order to meet the growing demand for fuel
efficient and environment-friendly vehicles.
However, Toyota will launch eQ (iQ EV in the U.S.) in limited
numbers due to a conservative view on the global hybrid vehicles
market. The company plans to sell about 100 units of
battery-powered eQ vehicles in the U.S. and Japan. The vehicles
will be priced at ¥3.6 million ($45,000) and have a limited cruise
range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).
Toyota occupied the leading spot in hybrid offerings after
introducing Prius in 1997. Since then, the automaker sold more than
3.5 million hybrid vehicles. In May last year, Toyota introduced
Prius Alpha hatchback wagon Prius V (5-seater) in Japan, which is
derived from the third generation Prius model.
In late 2011, Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding with Ford
on the equal product development collaboration in order to
manufacture a gas-electric hybrid engine for pickup trucks and
sport utility vehicles (SUVs). It has also partnered with
Tesla Motors Inc.
) to collaborate on producing electric vehicles based on its small
SUV RAV4, which will go on sale this month.
Toyota is gearing up for new launches in order to regain its
leading position in the U.S. and abroad after getting battered by
the global economic crisis, earthquake in Japan, floods in Thailand
and a series of embarrassing recalls.
The company lost its No.1 position to
Ford Motor Co.
) in terms of sales volumes in the U.S. As a result, the company
plans to increase its dependence on the non-U.S. markets,
especially the high growth emerging markets.
It aims to generate 50% of global sales from the emerging markets
by 2015, up from 45% presently. These would also help the automaker
face burgeoning automakers in the markets such as Korea's Hyundai
Motor and Germany's
The company also faces strong competition from hybrid vehicles,
offered by other major automakers. They include GM Volt and
Nissan Motor Co.
) Leaf. It also needs to entice buyers in high-growth emerging
markets, who are not yet ready to buy expensive and complex
vehicles such as hybrids.
Toyota, a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) company showed marked recovery in the
first quarter of its fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 by posting a
significant ¥91.31 increase in earnings to ¥91.68 per share ($1.14)
due to strong demand for its vehicles and positive impact of cost
reduction measures. However, the company's profits failed to meet
the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.93 per share during the quarter.
Total profit surged ¥289.19 billion to ¥290.35 billion ($3.62
billion) from ¥1.16 billion a year ago.
Consolidated revenues soared 60% to ¥5.50 trillion ($68.66 billion)
in the quarter. Unit sales increased 86% to 2.27 million vehicles
during the quarter led by higher sales in all the regions including
Japan (97%), North America (140%), Europe (20%) and Asia (61%), and
Other reporting regions (83%).
Operating income increased by ¥461.10 billion to ¥353.14 billion
($4.41 billion) from a loss of ¥107.96 billion in the year-ago
quarter. Favorable effects from marketing activities of ¥440.0
billion ($5.49 billion) and cost reduction efforts of ¥70.0 billion
($8.74 billion) boosted operating income, partially offset by
negative effects from currency fluctuations of ¥40.0 billion
For fiscal 2013 ending March 31, 2013, Toyota projected
consolidated vehicles sales of 8.80 million units, up 100 thousand
units from the prior guidance. However, the company reiterated its
guidance for consolidated revenues of ¥22.00 trillion (up 18.4%
from fiscal 2012), operating income of ¥1.00 trillion (181.2%) and
profits of ¥760.0 billion (168.0%) for the fiscal year.