Toyota has reported a 4.7% year-on-year rise in net income for Q4 of 2015, to 627.9 billion yen ($5.37 billion), due in part to stronger sales in the US.
The Japanese company, the world’s biggest automaker, also raised its North America sales forecast for the full year to March, because of the higher US demand.
However, operating profit for the quarter fell by 5.3%, missing forecasts.
The car industry has been hurt by a global slowdown, particularly in China.
Toyota said net income for the year to March was still likely to come in at 2.27 trillion yen.
“Our latest forecast remains unchanged from the previous forecast, having reflected both positive factors – such as progress in cost reduction and the weaker-than-expected yen so far,” managing officer Tetsuya Otake said.
In the nine months to December, Toyota said consolidated vehicle sales came in at 6,492,784 vehicles – a decrease of 246,374 compared with the same period last a year earlier.
It said sales in North America had increased by 33,032 vehicles to 2,140,655 because of strong demand from the US.
In Asia, however, vehicle sales fell by 112,478 vehicles to 1,016,235 over the nine months.
In the face of slowing global growth, Toyota has been trying to cut costs and improve productivity at its factories. It has also faced a string of recalls in recent months.
Earlier this week, Toyota announced a recall of 320,000 trucks and SUVs over problems with airbags, saying they could inflate without a collision.
In November 2015, Toyota recalled 1.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty airbags. In October 2015, Toyota recalled 6.5 million vehicles over a faulty window switch.
The company has recalled about 15 million vehicles fitted with the bags since 2013.
On February 5, Toyota also announced a share buyback of about 150 billion yen worth of outstanding shares.
Despite the recall worries, Toyota won back the crown of the world’s largest automaker by sales in the first nine months 2015 from Germany’s Volkswagen.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded a recall of vehicles with potentially dangerous Takata airbags to 7.8 million.
The NHTSA warned that owners should take “immediate action”.
If deployed with force, the airbags have the potential to eject deadly shrapnel at passengers.
The NHTSA has identified 10 manufacturers who used Takata as a supplier, including General Motors, Honda, and Toyota.
The agency has told those who might own affected vehicles to check the list at www.safercar.gov, and specifically warned those living in more humid climates such as Florida and Hawaii to get their vehicles inspected.
“Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures,” said NHTSA deputy administrator David Friedman in a statement.
The NHTSA has expanded a recall of vehicles with potentially dangerous Takata airbags to 7.8 million
Initially, the NHTSA said that only 4.7 million cars could be affected, but it has increased the number of vehicles twice in recent days.
Japanese supplier Takata warned recently that older airbags could explode with too much force, which would send plastic and metal parts towards passengers with enough force to injure them.
Takata said it estimated that around 12 million vehicles around the globe may contain the parts.
The recall notices have been ongoing for the past 18 months, but regulators and car manufacturers have warned that only a small percentage of those cars potentially affected have been returned and inspected.
The majority of the affected vehicles – more than five million – are Honda cars manufactured between 2001 and 2011, including the Accord, Civic, and Pilot models.
Toyota has decided to stop its car and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017, effectively marking the end of the country’s carmaking industry.
Toyota said it might scale down the operations of its development and technical centre in Australia as well.
Last year, Ford and General Motors’ Holden unit also announced plans to stop producing cars in Australia.
About 2,500 jobs are set to be lost as a result of Toyota’s decision, which it attributed to high manufacturing costs.
“We believed that we should continue producing vehicles in Australia, and Toyota and its workforce here made every effort,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda.
“However, various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and a strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts of a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision.”
Toyota, which first began making cars in Australia in 1963, said it “intends to provide the best support it can, including employment assistance” to those affected by the decision.
Vivek Vaidya, an automotive analyst at consultancy Frost & Sullivan, said he was not surprised by Toyota’s decision.
Toyota has decided to stop its car and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017
“Toyota was the last producer in Australia after exit of Mitsubishi, Ford and Holden,” he said.
“Labor cost in Australia is too high to be price competitive in production.”
Vivek Vaidya also said rival car-producing countries such as Thailand and the US were more attractive in terms of manufacturing costs.
Toyota’s decision comes despite appeals from Australian PM Tony Abbott, who has been looking to keep the carmaker operating in the country.
Car manufacturers have been pulling out of Australia as the rising cost of doing business in the country has hit profits.
Last May, Ford said it would close its car lines in Australia in October 2016 with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
General Motors’ Holden unit has also announced plans to stop production in 2017, affecting nearly 3,000 jobs.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors sold its last Australian-made car in 2010.
Australia’s carmaking industry has traditionally received billions of dollars in subsidies from the government.
However, a national commission recently recommended that the financial support should be ended and that car companies should cut costs instead.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) called Toyota’s decision “devastating” and warned the move could cause an economic recession.
Last year, Toyota – the world’s top global car maker by sales – found itself in a dispute with Australian car plant workers over proposed changes to their contracts, in an attempt to reduce costs.
Toyota has announced it is expecting record annual earnings for 2013 as the weaker Japanese yen helps to boost sales abroad.
For the financial year ending March, it expects operating profit to reach 2.4 trillion Japanese yen ($23.7 billion).
The ongoing weakness in the yen also helped Toyota post better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter, with operating profit of 600 billion yen.
That is nearly five times higher than earnings in the same quarter one year ago.
Toyota has announced it is expecting record annual earnings for 2013 as the weaker Japanese yen helps to boost sales abroad
Toyota said in a statement that its revised forecast is due to “progress in our recent profit improvement activities through cost reduction and marketing efforts, in addition to the change in our assumption of foreign exchange rates to reflect the depreciation of the yen.”
The Japanese currency has fallen by around 9% against the US dollar this year.
Toyota sold 9.98 million vehicles during 2013. That’s 270,000 more than its closest rival – US car giant General Motors.
Sales figures helped Toyota retain its position as the world’s largest carmaker by sales for two straight years.
Toyota and Nissan have announced new vehicle recalls.
Toyota is calling back 615,000 Sienna minivans in the US to fix a lever problem that could cause vehicles to shift out of park mode “without the driver depressing the brake pedal”.
Toyota said that it was aware of 24 “minor accidents” due to the issue.
Meanwhile, Nissan said it is recalling 908,900 vehicles globally due to a flaw in an accelerator sensor but added that no accidents had been reported.
Toyota’s recall applies to models made during 2004 to 2005 and 2007 to 2009
Nissan said the accelerator pedal’s sensor could become unstable, leading to a less-than-intended acceleration. It added that in a worst case scenario, the engine could stall.
Its recall affects Infiniti M, Serena, X-Trail, Lafesta and Fuga models produced in Japan between 2004 and 2013.
Toyota’s recall applies to models made during 2004 to 2005 and 2007 to 2009.
This is the second time in a month that Toyota has issued a recall of its vehicles in the US market.
Earlier in September, Toyota issued a recall for more than 780,000 vehicles in the US to address a suspension defect in its RAV4 and Lexus HS 250h models, on fears that an initial recall last year did not fix the problem
Toyota has decided to recall 780,584 vehicles in the US for a second time to address a suspension defect that may not have been fixed after a recall last year.
The rear suspension arm in affected vehicles may rust, leading to eventual failure, if nuts are not tightened properly during service.
The US safety watchdog said this could “cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash”.
The models affected are the RAV4 sport utility vehicle and the Lexus HS 250h.
The RAV4 models covered by the recall were manufactured between 2006 and 2011, and the Lexus vehicles affected are the ones made between October 2005 and September 2010.
Toyota is recalling 780,584 vehicles in the US for a second time to address a suspension defect
Toyota first recalled the vehicles in August last year to carry out repairs on the affected parts.
However, in a letter sent to dealers, which was posted on the safety agency’s website, Toyota said that it had received reports “indicating that some vehicles experienced symptoms of the recalled condition after being inspected or repaired”.
“Upon investigation, it was discovered that some inspections were not adequate and portions of the repair procedure may not have been performed correctly,” it added.
As part of the new inspection it has asked its dealers to replace suspension arms if any rust is found on them.
“After the inspection or replacement, the rear suspension alignment will be set and the arms will be sealed with an epoxy,” it said.
Toyota said it would then apply labels on the arms to indicate that they are no longer adjustable.
The recall comes just as Toyota has been trying to rebuild its image after a spate of recalls due to safety concerns in the past few years.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has raised its forecast for annual profit as a weak yen and a recovery in sales in the US continue to boost its growth.
Toyota now expects to make a net profit of 1.48 trillion yen ($14.8bn) for the current financial year, up from its earlier projection of 1.37 trillion yen.
The carmaker raised the outlook as it said earnings for the April to June quarter had jumped 93% from a year ago.
Many Japanese firms have seen a surge in profits thanks to the weakening yen.
The yen has fallen by nearly 25% against the US dollar since November, after the government unveiled a series of aggressive policy moves.
A weak currency not only makes Japanese goods more affordable to foreign buyers but also helps to boost profits of exporters when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home.
On Friday, Toyota reported a net profit of 562 billion yen in the three months to the end of June, up from 290 billion yen during the same period last year.
Toyota has raised its forecast for annual profit as a weak yen and a recovery in sales in the US continue to boost its growth
The company said that cost cutting measures had also helped to lift its earnings during the quarter.
“Operating income increased due to the impact of foreign exchange rates and our global efforts for profit improvement, through cost reduction activities such as companywide value analysis,” Takuo Sasaki, chief marketing officer for Toyota, said in a statement.
Takuo Sasaki added that the “enhancement of the model mix and pricing” had also helped to boost profits.
Toyota also set a worldwide production target of 10.1 million vehicles for the 2013 calendar year, which would be a record across the industry.
It kept its sales goal for the year at 9.96 million vehicles, making it a close race with US rival General Motors for the title of world’s top carmaker.
Toyota said it sold 1.3 million vehicles in the US, its biggest market, in the January to July period, up 8% from a year ago.
The US accounts for nearly a quarter of Toyota’s global sales.
However, Toyota saw slower-than-expected growth in Southeast Asia, its third biggest market after North America and Japan.
Toyota sold about 539,000 vehicles in the region in the January-June period which was the same as last year, but 15% below the industry-wide growth.
Toyota has given a taste of self-drive car safety technology ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 8-11, 2013.
Toyota revealed a video clip of a Lexus fitted with safety features designed to minimize car crashes.
The technology includes on-board radar and video cameras to monitor the road, the surroundings, and the driver.
The car can also communicate with other vehicles, according to a Toyota spokesman.
“We’re looking at a car that would eliminate crashes,” said the spokesman.
“Zero-collisions is our ultimate aim.”
The video shows a prototype Lexus LS fitted with what Toyota’s described as an “Intelligent Transport Systems” (ITS) technology.
Toyota has given a taste of self-drive car safety technology ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas
The “advanced active safety research vehicle” prototype uses ITS and existing Toyota technology to monitor whether the driver is awake, to keep the car on the road, and to stop at traffic signals. The technology is designed to be used in conjunction with a driver, but the car can control itself, said the spokesman.
“Not the Jetsons yet, but our advanced active safety research car is leading the industry into a new automated era,” Toyota said in a Tweet on Thursday.
Toyota has also developed technology that lets a car communicate with a driver’s smartphone to offer augmented reality features. This would let the car know about places by the road letting it, for example. recommend an upcoming restaurant, said the spokesman.
Toyota is one of several heavy-weight car manufacturers and technology companies researching autonomous vehicles.
Audi is due to demonstrate a self-parking car at CES, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.
Google was awarded an autonomous car patent in 2011, and secured a Nevada driving licence for its self-drive car in May 2012. In the same month Volvo tested a self-drive convoy on a Spanish motorway.
Toyota has agreed on a more than $1 billion compensation deal to settle a legal case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles.
Toyota said the deal will resolve hundreds of lawsuits from the giant carmaker owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plummeted after a series of recalls stemming from claims the firm’s vehicles accelerated unintentionally.
Steve Berman, a lawyer representing Toyota owners, said the settlement is the largest in US history involving automobile defects.
“We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation,” Steve Berman said.
The proposed deal was filed on Wednesday and must receive the approval of US District Judge James Selna, who was expected to review the settlement on Friday.
Toyota said it will take a one-time, $1.1 billion pre-tax charge against earnings to cover the estimated costs of the settlement. Steve Berman said the total value of the deal is between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Toyota since 2009, when the Japanese automaker started receiving numerous complaints that its cars accelerated on their own, causing crashes, injuries and even deaths.
The cases were consolidated in US District Court in Santa Ana and divided into two categories: economic loss and wrongful death. Claims by people who seek compensation for injury and death due to sudden acceleration are not part of the settlement – the first trial involving those suits is scheduled for February.
Toyota has agreed on a more than $1 billion compensation deal to settle a legal case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles
As part of the economic loss settlement, Toyota will offer cash payments from a pool of about $250 million to eligible customers who sold vehicles or turned in leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010.
The company also will launch a $250 million program for 16 million current owners to provide supplemental warranty coverage for certain vehicle components, and it will retrofit about 3.2 million vehicles with a brake override system.
An override system is designed to ensure a car will stop when the brakes are applied, even if the accelerator pedal is depressed.
The settlement would also establish additional driver education programs and fund new research into advanced safety technologies.
“In keeping with our core principles, we have structured this agreement in ways that work to put our customers first and demonstrate that they can count on Toyota to stand behind our vehicles,” said Christopher Reynolds, Toyota vice president.
Current and former Toyota owners are expected to receive more information about the settlement in the coming months. Some information is also available at www.ToyotaELsettlement.com, a website created for Toyota owners affected by the settlement.
“We are extraordinarily proud of how we were able to represent the interests of Toyota owners, and believe this settlement is both comprehensive in its scope and fair in compensation,” Steve Berman said.
Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems in several models and brake defects with the Prius hybrid. The automaker has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and stuck accelerator pedals for the problems.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys have spent the past two years deposing Toyota employees, poring over thousands of documents and reviewing software code, but the company maintains those lawyers have been unable to prove that a design defect – namely Toyota’s electronic throttle control system – was responsible for vehicles surging unexpectedly.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA were unable to find any defects in Toyota’s source code that could cause problems. The company has been dogged by fines for not reporting problems in a timely manner.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda appeared before Congress last year and pledged to strengthen quality control. Recent sales figures show the company appears to have rebounded following its safety issues.