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Toyota reports record $14-billion profit
Toyota Motor Corp. reported early this morning that annual profits rose 19.8% to a company record $1.64 trillion yen, or about $14 billion.

Toyota’s revenues rose 13.8% to a record 23.94 million yen, or $204 billion, for the fiscal year, which ended March 31. Global vehicle sales in the period totaled 8.52 million units, an increase of 550,000 units compared to the last fiscal year and also a record. For fiscal year 2007, Toyota posted record consolidated results across the board.” Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said in a statement. “We believe our continuous efforts to support global growth have steadily contributed to our record net revenues, operating income and net income.”

For the final quarter of the year, Toyota’s net income rose 9% to 440 billion yen, or $3.7 billion.

The results come as Toyota is poised to pass General Motors Corp. as the world’s largest automaker. It outsold GM for the first time ever in the January-March period with global sales of 2.35 million vehicles to GM’s 2.26 million.

Toyota made gains in what was a difficult period for Detroit automakers and its Japanese counterparts. In 2006, Ford lost $12.6 billion, GM lost $2 billion and the Chrysler Group lost $680 million. DaimlerChrysler AG as a whole made $5 billion in 2006, up from $3.4 billion in 2005.

Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. both made money in 2006 but their profits declined from the year before.

Toyota’s profits have been buoyed by success in the United States. Toyota vehicles sales dropped in its most recent fiscal year in Japan but rose in North America and Europe. In North America, vehicle sales hit 2.94 million units, an increase of 386,000 units, thanks to the success of redesigned models such as the RAV4 and Camry.

Toyota also projected this morning that net income for the next fiscal year will reach $1.65 trillion yen, slightly up from the most recent fiscal year.

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