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November 7, 2019 11:45 AM, EST

Toyota Q2 Profit Up 1% on Healthy Global Sales

Close-up of Toyota logo Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

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TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp.’s net profit edged 1% higher in the July-September quarter as vehicle sales grew around the world, Japan’s top automaker reported Nov. 7.

Toyota’s profit for the second fiscal quarter totaled 592 billion yen ($5.4 billion), up from 585 billion yen last year.

Maker of the Prius hybrid, Corolla subcompact and Lexus luxury models, Toyota stuck to its net profit forecast for the fiscal year through March 2020, at 2.15 trillion yen ($20 billion).

That would be an improvement over the 1.88 trillion yen earned in the year ended in March.

Vehicle sales for the latest quarter grew in Japan and overseas, including in the U.S., the rest of Asia and Europe.

Quarterly sales rose 4% to 7.6 trillion yen ($70 billion), compared to the previous year.

Toyota said it expects to sell 10.7 million vehicles globally for the fiscal year through March 2020, up from 10.6 million vehicles the previous fiscal year.

Person walking past Toyota sign

A visitor walks by the logo of Toyota at a show room in Tokyo on Aug. 2 , 2019. The company expects to sell 10.7 bmillion vehicles by the end of its fiscal year in March, compared with 10.6 million last year. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)

Like most Japanese exporters, Toyota has been hurt by a strengthening yen. But results show Toyota is holding up despite such negatives.

For the fiscal first half, cost cuts and marketing efforts offset the impact of an unfavorable exchange rate, the automaker said.

Toyota also said it will buy back up to 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) worth, or 34 million shares, of the company’s common stock.

Officials have stressed the business is focused on becoming a “mobility company” for a future when consumers may opt for new ways of car ownership such as car-sharing, or choose futuristic electric vehicles instead of automobiles common today that run on gasoline.

“We are in a phase of transforming ourselves to a mobility company and proactively undertaking investments for the future and creating friends,” Operating Officer Kenta Kon said.

Although Kon did not go into details, the “friends” Toyota has been courting lately in partnerships include those historically not associated with the traditional auto industry, such as robotics and internet companies.

On Nov. 7, Toyota and Chinese automaker BYD Co. said they have agreed to set up a joint company to research, develop and design electric vehicles as well as platforms for such vehicles together. The new research company will be set up in China in next year, with each company holding a 50% share, they said.

Toyota’s stock price gained 1.1% to 7,736 yen ($71) in Tokyo trading.

Honda Motor Co. reports earnings Nov. 8, and scandal-battered Nissan Motor Co. reports next week.

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