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Toyota predicts a comeback

May 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, May 9 (UPI) -- Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said 2012 would be a year of recovery, projecting profits of $9.5 billion through March 2013.

Toyota has been battered in recent years. Formerly the world's largest automaker by vehicle sales, it earned $21.5 billion in profits in 2008, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

But a global economic slump hurt sales and the firm's recovery was tripped up by massive recalls due to concern over cars that accelerated unexpectedly. Then, on March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake rocked the northeast coast of Japan.

That was followed by a tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The natural disasters led to production problems, as supplies of critical parts became a major concern.

As if that wasn't enough, while the country worked to rebuild, the yen grew in strength, which made exports more expensive abroad.

On Wednesday, Toyota said its net income in its last fiscal year -- which runs March to March -- had dropped 31 percent from 2010 to $3.5 billion.

Toyota said it expected to sell 8.7 million vehicles in the current fiscal year, up 1.35 million from the previous 12 months. Revenue is expected to climb 18 percent to $276 billion, the Times said.

"In recent years, we have suffered periods of hardship. This year, I am determined to show tangible results of all our internal efforts in order to reward our stakeholders who supported us during these difficult times," Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda said in a statement.

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