Toyota Reports Plunging Profits

Toyota slashed its earnings forecast for the full year on Thursday to less than a third of what it was the previous year, the latest sign that the global slowdown and strong yen are taking a toll on Japan's mighty automakers.

Mitsuo Kinoshita, the Executive Vice President of Toyota, said the company was wary of the global slowdown and the gyrations in currencies and stock markets.

Toyota which has been riding high on the success of its Prius hybrid and Camry sedan, also said that its July-September quarter net profit plunged 69 percent to 139.8 billion yen. That's about $1.4 billion US dollars.

Toyota cut its profit forecast for the year ending March 2009 to 550 billion yen, or about half of its earlier projection of 1.25 trillion yen, and about a third of the previous year's profit of 1.72 trillion yen.

Quarterly sales dropped 8 percent to 5.98 trillion yen from 6.49 trillion yen.

Although Toyota marked growth in Asia, South America and Africa, that wasn't enough to overcome the declines in Japan, North America and Europe.

The nose-dive was especially serious in North America, where its sales fell nearly 20 percent for the first six months of the fiscal year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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