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Quake Sends Toyota Profits Plunging

Quake, strong yen raising serious questions about Toyota continuing production in Japan.

by on May.11, 2011

Good news, but mostly bad news from Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda, as he reveals a 77% decline in profits.

This is an updated version of the report initially posted.

Slammed by a devastating earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis, Toyota Motor Co. says its profits for the first three months of 2011 plunged 77%, dipping to their lowest levels in nearly two years. Net income came in at 25.4 billion yen, or $314 million, down from 112.2 billion yen during the same period in 2010.

Though the maker said it is speeding up efforts to restore its global production network to full operations, Toyota officials warned they won’t have a full sense of just how big an impact the March 11 disaster will have on future profits for some time.


The quake alone wasn’t the only problem shaking Toyota’s traditionally solid finances.  The strong yen has made it increasingly difficult to export from home market plants, leading CEO Akio Toyoda to acknowledge, during a Tokyo news conference, that, “I fully understand that we can’t go on with just a desire to protect manufacturing in Japan,” Toyoda, 55, said.

The quake-spawned crisis put a downward spin not only on the final months of Toyota’s fiscal year, which ended on March 31, but hints at further problems ahead.  With some lingering effects likely to be felt through year-end, Toyota is all but certain to lose its crown as global sales leader, while profits are expected to be depressed, as well.