Toyota’s Annual Profit Falls By 24.5%

Akio Toyoda, president of Japan’s auto giant Toyota Motor, speaks during a press conference to announce the company’s 2019 financial results at their head office in Tokyo on May 8, 2019.  Behrouz MEHRI / AFP


Profits at Japanese car giant Toyota hit the skids despite record sales, the company admitted Wednesday, although it said it expected to accelerate out of trouble in the year ahead.

The maker of the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid said net profit was down 24.5 percent from its best-ever result the year before, at 1.88 trillion yen ($17 billion) in the year to March 31.

Toyota’s bottom line was pushed down by some 294 billion yen in book losses on its investment portfolio.

Senior managing officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi blamed “the deterioration of the stock market in the current period” for the investment losses. He added the figures also suffered in comparison with previous year’s 250-billion-yen boost from US tax reform.

However, the firm forecast net profit to rise 19.5 percent in the coming year to 2.25 trillion yen.

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And sales rose 2.9 percent to a record 30.23 trillion yen, leaving an operating profit of 2.47 trillion yen, which was up 2.8 percent year-on-year.

Akio Toyoda, the firm’s president, noted it was the first time a Japanese company had ever logged annual sales in excess of 30 trillion yen.

The firm expects operating profit for the current year to March 2020 will increase 3.3 percent to 2.55 trillion yen. Sales are forecast to sag 0.7 percent to 30 trillion yen.

“Toyota has cruised steadily, compared with its rivals,” said analyst Satoru Takada at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm.

“The firm largely showed a reasonable performance around the world at a time when the global market is slowing down,” he said.

 Brexit ‘relocation talks’ 

Takada was less bullish on the outlook of the auto industry.

Japanese carmakers have enjoyed a heyday in recent years with the North American market steadily recovering from the financial crisis of the late 2000s and China growing into a mammoth market, he noted.

“But the outlook for the two biggest markets is now murky, while material costs are rising,” said the analyst.

“Also, they can’t expect the one-time impact of US tax cuts, which temporarily boosted their profit before. Tough factors outnumbered positive ones,” he told AFP.

Rival firm Honda also announced on Wednesday that net profit plunged 42.4 percent to 610 billion yen, citing losses related to reorganization of the global automobile production in Europe. Sales rose 3.4 percent to 15.9 trillion yen.

The company forecasts net profit for the year ending March 2020 will grow 9.0 percent to 665 billion yen.

The business environment for auto companies has also been clouded by the US-China trade war and continued uncertainty from Brexit.

President Toyoda noted: “If you look at the world, the protectionist way of thinking is spreading. Just as natural resource-poor Japan cannot live alone, we, companies, cannot live alone.”

Toyota executives have said previously there would be no way to avoid a negative impact in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The firm said its assembly plant in Burnaston in central England, which produces 600 vehicles per day, would be affected.

The plant operates under Toyota’s famous “just-in-time” system, holding limited stock on site and relying on flexible imports of millions of component car parts from the EU.

“If Britain finally leaves the EU, automakers are likely to accelerate relocation talks. It is natural for them to move to a profitable place,” Takada said.

Toyota shares were down some two percent late in the morning but trimmed the losses by more than half at the close after the results and guidance were announced.

This was mainly due to the announcement it would buy back shares for up to 300 billion yen, boosting the price.

Toyoda said the carmaker’s main challenge was to guard against complacency in a fast-moving sector.

“The most dangerous attitude is believing ‘Toyota is going to be okay’,” he said since the company is faced with cut-throat competition in a rapidly changing world.


Toyota Recalls 1.7millon Vehicles Over Airbag Defects

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) P4 semi-autonomous prototype based on the current Lexus LS500h is displayed during a Toyota press event for CES 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on January 7, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO: DAVID BECKER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP


Toyota on Wednesday announced a recall of 1.7 million vehicles in North America as part of a general effort to replace defective Takata airbags tied to some 20 deaths worldwide.

The Japanese auto manufacturer did not say whether it had been notified of injuries or serious incidents related to the latest recall.

The sprawling recall concerned 4Runner SUVs from model years 2010 to 2016, Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks from 2010 to 2013 and Sienna minivans from 2011 to 2014.

The recall also involves Luxury Lexus models: ES 350 sedans (2010-2012), GX 460 SUVs (2010-2017), IS 250C and IS 350C convertibles (2010-2015), IS 250 and IS 350 sedans (2010-2013) and Lexus IS-F sedans (2010-2014).

Scion XB compacts from the 2010 to 2015 model years are also involved.

Dealerships will replace either the airbag inflators or entire airbag systems.

Last week, US automaker Ford recalled 953,000 vehicles to address Takata airbag problems.

This is Toyota’s third large-scale Takata-related recall in five months. In November, the firm recalled 1.6 million vehicles worldwide.

US authorities in 2014 exposed the Takata airbag defect, which has since resulted in a series of massive recalls concerning at least 100 million units worldwide from multiple manufacturers.

About 20 people have died in accidents linked to the defect while the number of wounded is near 300.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the Takata matter concerns 34 million vehicles and 46 million airbags in the United States but this could rise to 70 million by the end of 2019.

Founded in 1933, Takata went of business in June 2017 because of the crisis. The company was finally acquired last April for $1.6 billion by the equipment maker Key Safety Systems, with the resulting entity renamed Joyson Safety Systems.

Toyota, Mazda Team Up On Electric Vehicles

Japanese auto giant Toyota said Thursday it was teaming up with Mazda and parts-maker Denso in a new joint venture to develop electric vehicles.

The move came as Toyota, producer of bestselling hybrid vehicle Prius, steps up efforts to develop clean technologies, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid systems that use both petrol and electricity as energy sources.

Joint research — sharing cost, engineers, and knowledge — is necessary to meet increasingly stringent but varying environmental standards around the world, the three firms said in a joint statement.

“With (electric vehicles) yet to find widespread market acceptance, the huge investments and time required to cover all markets and vehicle segments is a pressing issue for individual automakers,” the statement said.

Toyota will take a 90-percent stake in the venture, to be launched next month in the central city of Nagoya, near the automaker’s headquarters.

Toyota and Mazda agreed in August to a capital tie-up to facilitate joint development of electric vehicles.


Japan Warns, ‘Brexit’ Could Result In Outflow Of Investments

Japan, Brexit, Outflow Of InvestmentsJapan’s government has warned that ‘Brexit’ could result in a possible outflow of drug research and development investment from Britain.

This was said in a 15-page report published on the eve of a summit of the Group of 20 big economies in China.

A Japanese government task force, formed to respond to “Brexit” also said that the country may be moving their European head offices out of Britain.

Japanese firms employ an estimated 140,000 workers in the UK, with Nomura Bank, manufacturing giant Hitachi and carmakers Honda, Nissan and Toyota all having major bases in the country.

The report from Japan’s foreign ministry said that the firms might want to move “if the EU laws cease to be applicable in the UK”.

The ministry called on Teresa May’s government to deal with the companies’ concerns in a “responsible manner”.


Kwara Police Calls For More Collaboration To Fight Crimes

YobeThe Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Sam Okaula has asked Nigerians for more collaboration in the fight against crimes to ensure peaceful and harmonious relationship between the police and the public.

The Police Commissioner made the call while receiving a Toyota vehicle donated by a philanthropist while parading four suspected cult members.

Mr Okaula noted the huge responsibility of providing vehicles for the police in combating crimes and cannot be left for the government alone.

He urged wealthy Nigerians to complement the efforts of the governments at all levels in the fight against crimes assuring that the police will not relent in stamping out crimes.

The criminals in the state, he assured will not find it easy as the police will make it difficult for them to operate in the state.

Parading four alleged cult members, he said the boys who are university students in Ilorin were arrested around Oyun area while preparing to attend a cult meeting.

The boys, he noted were also involved in recruiting new members as several ammunitions were found on them

Gunmen Kill 22 In Daku Village, Borno State

gunmen nigeriaAt least 22 people including traders have been killed after suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a local market in Daku villiage, in Askira Uba Local government Area of Borno state.

Witnesses say the gunmen set ablaze several shops, houses, vehicles and motorcycles.

Askira Uba is about 190 kilometers from Maiduguri, the state capital and shares boundaries with Biu, Chibok, Gwoza and Hawul council areas that have also witnessed series of deadly attacks and killings.

The attackers, numbering more than 20 invaded the market square on motorcycles and a Hilux Toyota vehicle; opened fire on traders before fleeing towards the Sambisa forest.

This is coming weeks after gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram Islamist militant group have killed a first class traditional ruler in Borno State, the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrisss Timta.

Also about fifty-three days after the abduction of Chibok school girls in the state.

Borno state was amongst the states that President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency.

Army Arrests Recruiter Of Terrorists In Maiduguri

A key terrorist suspect, who specialises in recruiting personnel into terror cells, has been arrested by troops in Maiduguri following a tip off.

In a press release signed by the defence spokesman, Brigadier General Christopher Olukolade, the individual is also the person that watches over the insurgents’ armoury.

He further stated that another group of five insurgents, all Nigeriens were arrested when troops stormed their hideout at Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in two Toyota Cruiser Jeeps.

He said the Troops continue to patrol the notorious Sambisa forest and are also cordoning the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills finding more abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items in the camps of the insurgents.

Among the recent finds are rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine.

Others are handset, walkie-talkie, car number plates and some food items.

Four die in Ogun road accident

Four persons were confirmed dead while others sustained injuries in a fatal auto crash which occurred in front of the Ogun State Governor’s office, along the Oke-Mosan-Kobape-Sagamu dual carriage way in Abeokuta, the state capital.

The mangled bodies of the victims were reportedly removed from the wreckage of the auto crash after sympathizers had axed their way into the wrecked car they were travelling in.

The accident which involved a Toyota Tundra Jeep with registration number Lagos: FC 787LND and a Nissan Primeria car with registration number FZ 914 LSR was said to have occurred when the jeep heading for Shagamu crossed the median while the driver was receiving a phone call and hit the car with six passengers.

It took the intervention of the Ogun State rescue team of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Ogun State Traffic Compliance Agency (TRACE) before the dead bodies could be removed from the wreckage.

Confirming the incident, the team leader of the state traffic enforcement and compliant, Mr. Oladele Badmos said those who were injured are currently receiving treatment at the federal medical centre, idiaba while the remains of the dead will be deposited at the mortuary.