Toyota Motor Corp expects to treble its operating profit this year to more than $12.5 billion - still less than half Oal financial crisis - as Japan's top automaker recovers lost ground in markets from the United States to China.
Operating profit jumped more than five-fold in January-March to $3 billion, with all production centres back up and running after last year's earthquake, tsunami and Thai floods disrupted supply chains and cost Toyota around 400,000 cars in lost output - roughly 9 weeks worth of US sales.
With robust top-line growth a given in the current year - the company predicts operating profit of 1 trillion yen ($12.54 billion), in line with market forecasts - Toyota is looking to squeeze further cost cuts in a battle to offset a strong yen. Executives said they have gone back to a war on waste - or "muda" - a key component of its vaunted production system.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda, the 56-year-old grandson of the automaker's founder, said everyone in the company had worked towards improving profitability, and "the focus on making good cars has translated into sales volumes and profits," he said.
Toyota expects operating margins to improve this year to 4.5% from 1.9% in the year just ended. That gets it closer to a target of a minimum 5% margin before 2015.