Toyota’s chief Akio Toyoda noted that the automaker squeezed out a profit for 2020, but 2021 will be difficult.

Toyota Motor Corp. ended its 2020 fiscal year, which ended March 31 with 10% increase despite a small dip in global sales, but officials warned annual profit for 2021 would drop by 80%.

Toyota’s consolidated vehicle sales were 8.9 million units, down 18,000 from the previous year. Net revenues for the financial year were $278.9 billion, a decrease of 1% from the year before, and operating income fell slightly to $22.7 billion.

The company’s total income before taxes was $23.8 billion as net income increased from $17.5 billion to $19.35 billion, according to the company’s financial report.

(Honda earnings suffer due to pandemic; Toyota predicts 80% drop.)

The company was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, Toyota executives noted.

Toyota expects consolidated vehicle sales for the new financial year ending March 31, 2021, will be 7 million units, and that operating income will be $4.6 billion. That predicted loss between $22.7 billion in 2020 and $4.6 billion in 2021 would represent an 80% year-over-year drop in Toyota operating income.

“I would like to touch on our forecast for the year to March 2021,” Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said during a conference call.

“In the current COVID-19 crisis, although we forecast a decrease in vehicle sales of 1.95 million units for a year-on-year decrease of more than 20%, which would be greater than the decrease during the global financial crisis, we forecast a profit with an operating income of 500 billion yen.”

(Toyota cutting NA production by a third through October.)

During the conference call, Toyoda also emphasized that the pandemic has underscored how important it is for TMC to continue building cars in Japan now and in the future.

Toyoda noted that despite the tough start, its important that the company continue building vehicles in Japan.

“I believe we can do these things because we have insisted on having a system for domestic production of 3 million vehicles. And because we have preserved monozukuri in Japan,” he said.

“What we have been defending to the very last has not been 3 million vehicles. What we have been continuing to protect have been people who have acquired the techniques and skills that enable them to make what is necessary when the world needs it.

(Toyota reveals “flexible” plan aimed at safely starting to re-open U.S. plants.)

“We are proud that we have been continuing to protect in Japan places in which such human resources can work and be cultivated. Even as we are now facing the Covid-19 crisis, there is not the slightest bit of distortion or wavering in this belief.”

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