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Toyota forecasts 20 percent profit drop on higher U. S. sales cost, yen gain


Toyota Motor Corp (7203. T) forecast operating profit for the current year to slide by a fifth as Japan’s biggest automaker expects a hit from increased spending to push sales in its key U. S. market and from a stronger yen.
Toyota, the world’s second largest automaker, sees operating profit at 1.6 trillion yen ($14.06 billion) in the year to March, below an average estimate of 2.3 trillion yen from 25 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and less than the 1.99 trillion yen profit posted in the year just ended.
Toyota and its group companies aim to sell 10.25 million vehicles globally in the year to March, largely unchanged from last year. Sales in North America, its single biggest market where it sells around 28 percent of its global vehicle sales, are seen easing 0.6 percent to 2.82 million.
Toyota’s U. S. sales have been bolstered by brisk demand for its RAV4 SUV crossover and Highlander SUV models, although sales for sedans including the Corolla, Camry and gasoline hybrid Prius have slowed as historically low gasoline prices in North America lifted sales of larger, gas-guzzling models.

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