President Akio Toyoda, fresh of a huge profit last year and accustomed to huge crises in its early years, is looking rather content at seeing the company’s profit flat or even slightly dipping.
Toyota, which also announced a record 1.82 trillion yen ($17.9 billion) profit last fiscal year – thanks to huge export profits caused by the falling yen currency, now forecast its next fiscal year could drop 2.4% for the fiscal year ending March 31.
“Right now, in this temporary lull in the growth of profitability, maybe people would wonder, do we not want to continuously grow?” Toyoda told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. “But if we just keep harvesting, there needs to be some additional sowing of the seeds.”
The company is content with the forecast because although the profit will not reach the record or best it, deliveries are expected to actually increase in all major global regions, except for Japan – which has been hit by a sales tax increase this April – the ocuntry’s first hike in 17 years.
“Akio-san is very careful about making the same mistake that company did during its rapid-growth days,” said Masahiro Akita, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo. “Will this plateau last long? My impression is no.”
Toyota is set to focus on sustainable growth, adding new people to its 330,000 worldwide employees, investing in reaching new quality levels (as this year it had its second biggest recall – of more than 6 million cars globally) and developing new technologies – like fuel cell cars – to keep its edge against the world’s second and third placed VW AG and GM.