TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp said it expected its full-year loss would be three times what it had flagged just six weeks ago as the world's biggest
automaker struggles to cut production fast enough to match sliding sales. A sudden dive in demand since late last year has caught automakers around the world flat-footed, but the pain is especially pronounced at Toyota, which is saddled with too much capacity after years of building new plants to keep up with demand. For the year to end-March, Toyota now expects an operating loss of 450 billion yen ($4.95 billion) instead of the 150 billion yen loss it forecast in late December and a similar consensus forecast in a Reuters Estimates survey of 18 brokerages. It would be Toyota's first consolidated operating loss in its 70-year history. Toyota changed its annual net forecast to a 350 billion yen loss from a 50 billion yen profit. For its October-December third quarter, Toyota reported an operating loss of 360.5 billion yen ($3.97 billion) against a year-earlier profit of 601.6 billion yen. It posted a third-quarter net loss of 164.6 billion yen against a year-earlier profit of 458.7 billion yen. Toyota started the current financial year with a bullish forecast to build 8.87 million vehicles in the 12 months to end-March. By November, it had slashed that goal by nearly 1 million vehicles, and has since announced more cuts in North America and Japan. It cut its forecast for 2008/09 global vehicle sales to 7.32 million units from 7.54 million. Shares in Toyota are up around 5 percent so far in 2009 as investors favour stocks with competitive long-term prospects, beating Tokyo's blue-chip Topix index, which is down 8 per cent.