Toyota Motor Corp.
) popular hybrid vehicle Prius became the third best-selling car in
the world during the first quarter of the year following its own
brand Corolla and
Ford Motor Co.
In the quarter, Toyota sold 247,230 units of Prius. This
compared with 300,800 units of Corolla and 277,000 units of
Toyota occupied the top spot in hybrid offerings after
introducing Prius in 1997. Since then, the automaker sold more than
3.5 million hybrid vehicles. It expects to launch as many as 10
more gasoline-electric models by 2015 and offer a fuel-sipping
option across its entire line-up by 2020.
In May last year, Toyota introduced Prius Alpha hatchback wagon,
which is derived from the third generation Prius model, as Prius V
(5-seater) in Japan. The vehicle is priced at ¥2.35 million
($29,000) and is equipped with nickel-metal hydride (NiMH)
batteries like its predecessor.
In late-2011, Toyota also 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
Recently, Toyota raised its 2012 sales forecast for the U.S. due
to improving consumer confidence, rising gasoline prices and strong
pent-up demand on the back of aging vehicles on road (average age
of a vehicle on U.S. roads is 10.8 years).
The Japanese automaker expects to boost sales by 15% to 1.89
million vehicles in the U.S. during the year. The company believes
rising gasoline prices would raise the demand for its
Toyota, a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stock, posted a 30.5%
decline in profits to ¥283.56 billion ($3.7 billion) or ¥90.20
($1.17) per share in its fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 compared
with ¥408.18 billion or ¥130.16 in the prior fiscal year. With
this, the company has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.52
per share for the year.
Consolidated revenues in the year dipped marginally by 2% to
¥18.58 trillion ($241.59 billion). Total unit sales increased 0.6%
to 7.35 million units during the fiscal year. Higher unit sales in
Japan (8%), Europe (0.3%) and Asia (6%) were significantly offset
by lower sales in North America (8%) and Other reporting regions
The decrease in revenues and profits was attributable to
challenges faced by the company owing to the earthquake in Japan
and severe flooding in Thailand in 2011 as well as unprecedented
strength of the yen.
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