Automakers beat forecasts, stay cautious
Tokyo, August 4, 2009
Leading global automakers reported forecast-beating quarterly results on Tuesday, but continued to give cautious outlooks for the industry, which remains hard hit by weak demand and a lack of consumer credit.
Toyota Motor Corp, the world's biggest automaker by sales, beat targets with an operating loss of 194.9 billion yen ($2.06 billion) in the April-June quarter, and lifted an earlier cautious outlook, but luxury carmaker BMW said markets were too volatile to make a full-year forecast.
Toyota, maker of the popular Prius hybrid car, posted its third consecutive quarterly loss, but upped its targets for the full year.
For the year to end-March 2010, Toyota forecast an operating loss of 750 billion yen and a net loss of 450 billion yen, better than its forecasts three months ago for losses of 850 billion yen and 550 billion yen, respectively.
However, an executive said it was difficult for the group to gauge demand for vehicles outside Japan. 'Demand is being supported to a large extent by government schemes, and it's difficult to get a read on how much this will translate into a fundamental recovery in demand,' senior managing director Takahiko Ijichi told a news conference.
Toyota raised its forecasts for global vehicle sales by 100,000 vehicles to 6.6 million, solely on the back of expected sales in Japan, where it has benefited from incentives and tax breaks on more fuel efficient vehicles.
BMW, which published an EBIT of 114 million euros for the first half, compared with a Reuters poll average of 42 million euros, said it could not give a forecast for 2009 earnings 'due to the highly volatile state of the markets and uncertainty with regard to future economic developments.'
However, the German manufacturer of high-end cars said it saw the downward trend of deliveries to customers seen in the first six months ending.
July car sales figures for Germany, Europe's biggest auto market, which has been strongly supported in recent months by a bonus scheme to encourage drivers to trade in old cars, are due out later in the day.
Data for the United States, France, Italy and Spain released on Monday showed government scrapping incentive schemes boosted sales last month in those markets too. - Reuters