Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T more than doubled its full-year operating forecast on Friday amid a rebound in sales in China that received a blow due to the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. Japan’s biggest automaker said it now expects an operating profit of 1.3 trillion yen ($12.6 billion) for the year through March 2021, significantly higher from a previous prediction for a 500 billion yen profit. That is above an average estimate for a 1.25 trillion yen profit compiled from 26 analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Although still weaker than last year, demand has considerably bounced back, particularly in China the world’s biggest auto market. Toyota and rivals are placing their hopes on the China market of securing maximum business back there, as China witnesses a speedy recovery from the pandemic, faster than other countries. Toyota has seen a surge in China’s demand for its electric cars and the Lexus luxury brand. A senior Toyota executive in China said in September that annual global sales of electrified vehicles could reach 5.5 million in 2025, five years earlier than initially planned.
The maker of the RAV4 sports utility vehicle (SUV) crossover and the Prius gasoline hybrid now expects to sell 9.42 million cars this year – up 3.5% from a previous forecast of 9.1 million this year, but still lower than last year’s sales of 10.46 million.
The Coronavirus hit the auto-market hard, but the market is slowly witnessing a revival. “If you compare the second quarter to the first you can see a dramatic recovery,” Chief Financial Officer Kento Kon said, speaking during an online press briefing.