TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp more than doubled its full-year operating profit forecast on Friday, as vehicle sales rebound in China from a coronavirus pandemic squeeze earlier this year that contributed to a 24per cent slide in second-quarter earnings.
Japan's top automaker said it now expects an operating profit of 1.3 trillion yen (US$12.6 billion) for the year through March, 2021, up from the 500 billion it predicted previously. Operating profit for the previous financial year was 2.47 trillion yen.
That topped the 1.25 trillion yen average estimate for full-year profit from 26 analysts polled by Refinitiv.
For the second quarter, from July to September, operating profit fell to 506 billion yen from 662.4 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Reuters' calculations, as sales dipped amid the coronavirus impact globally.
Although still weaker than last year, demand has bounced back, particularly in China, the world's biggest auto market. Toyota and rivals are pinning recovery hopes on winning business there as China recovers from the pandemic faster than other countries.
Overall vehicle sales in China in September increased 12.8per cent, a sixth straight monthly gain, although sales were still 6.9per cent lower than the same time a year earlier.
Toyota has seen demand in China increase for its electric cars and Lexus luxury brand.
A senior Toyota executive in China said in September that annual global sales of electrified vehicles could reach 5.5 million in 2025, five years earlier than initially planned.
(US$1 = 103.5700 yen)
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)