US Auto Sales: Toyota rose 12 percent in April image

Toyota Motor Corp., said its sales rose 11.6% percent in April vs. a year ago as its inventories finally return to pre-earthquake levels.

The Japanese automaker said it sold 178,044 units in the month.

Full details coming this afternoon. –

In the U.S., Toyota has regained its place among the top three players. It outpaced Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. in sales gains during the first quarter to capture a 14.5 percent share of the market — less than 2 percentage points behind GM.

The Nikkei business daily said the firm will reveal operating profit of 350 billion yen in the year to March 31, surpassing the 270-billion-yen estimate it gave in February, thanks to strong sales and a weakening yen in recent months.

The yen, which hit a record high against the dollar last year, began to weaken in February and March, helping to mitigate an erosion in export profitability, according to the Nikkei.

Toyota will announce its earnings results on May 9.

During April, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded fell 3 percent, from $3.9254 (March 31) to $3.809 (May 1).