Forecast: Toyota raises profit forecast by 39 percent image

Toyota Motor Corp. raised its net profit target for the fiscal year by nearly 40%, citing a quicker than expected recovery from the March 11 earthquake.

It is hiring as many as 4,000 temporary workers in Japan to help it make up for lost production.

The supply constraints from the March 11 deathly earthquake have eased faster than initially feared and Toyota, said unrestricted production would return in September, about two months ahead of a previous forecast.

In Japan, vehicle sales totaled 292,000 units, a decrease of 208,000 units compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year, Toyota said.

The Japanese automaker may post $5.04 billion in net income for the year ending March 31, compared with an earlier forecast of 280 billion yen and 408 billion yen in the year-earlier period. Moreover, sales may rise to 19 trillion yen.

However, Japanese national currency versus other currencies has hit repatriated profits and made it more expensive for Toyota to produce cars in Japan for sale overseas.

Commenting on the results, Toyota Motor Corp. Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi said:

“In Japan and North America where the effects of the earthquake were particularly serious, vehicle sales declined substantially. In the Asia region, despite the impact of the earthquake, we were able to maintain a similar level of vehicle sales as the previous year in countries led by Indonesia.”

Shares in Toyota are down 1.9 percent in the year-to-date, underperforming a 3.8 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei average.N225. ($1 = 76.615 Japanese Yen).