Stimulated Toyota Posts Unexpected 2Q Profit, Lower Annual Loss; Denies Floor Mat Cover-up

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Thanks largely to stimulus programs in the US and Europe, Toyota announced that it has eked out an operating profit of 58 billion yen instead of the average estimated loss of 63 billion yen from five analysts. Toyota now is forecasting a lower operating loss of 350 billion yen ($3.9 billion) for the year through March 31, and is presumably on track to a profitable following year. But with the stimulus programs’ end, Toyota continues to hunt desperately for cost savings, like its recently announced elimination of the F1 program, which cost a tidy $300 million per year.

Investors were unimpressed, and shares were slightly lower on the news. Honda and Nissan have shown better ability to weather the global downturn. Nissan shares have more than doubled this year, while Honda is up by almost half over the same period. Toyota said the 2Q improvement came mainly came from improved used cars prices in the United States. Without such finance-related gains, it would have stayed in the red, an executive said. [Reuters]

In the most recent round of the floor-mat saga, Toyota has refuted allegations that the automaker tried to sidestep engineering or design defects resulting in the safety recall of 3.8 million vehicles.

“It is not a part of Toyota’s culture and the Toyota Way to cover up anything. And we are proceeding with open and frank discussions with NHTSA,” Toyota Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo said.

This comes one day after NHTSA slapped Toyota’s wrists for issuing “inaccurate and misleading information” about the safety recall, which advised drivers to remove floor mats that may potentially jam underneath the gas pedal and cause unintended acceleration. And that came a day after Toyota stated that the NHTSA found “no defect exists in vehicles with properly installed floor mats.” Actually, the NHTSA said these vehicles have a “very serious defect.”

Funo said Toyota had “no disagreement on this issue. Basically, we are proceeding with discussions with NHTSA, and we expect to have an agreement as soon as possible about what we should do.” Stay tuned for round four. [Automotive News] (sub)

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Nov 05, 2009

    There's more to come yet on the Toyota F1 decision, especially if Renault pull out too. They are actually contracted to run in F1 until the end of 2012. If there's one thing people have learned in F1, is that you don't mess with little Bernie Eccelstone. This would also appear to rather skewer the LF-A marketing "plan". BTW, good job on the numbers Toyota. Predictions of your demise might have been premature.

  • Don Cook Don Cook on Nov 08, 2009

    To the 2009 Prius ex-owner: Dear sir, you are right to feel "lucky" ... just imagine the unsuspecting new owner of that Prius. No doubt the salesperson failed to inform the new buyer(s) of any "known defects" or "negative history" associated with that vehicle (keep in mind the dealership is fully aware as to why that Prius was traded in). Unfortunately, Toyota Corporation, Toyota dealerships and their associates has chosen to take the low-road. While floor mats can in fact can prohibit the accelerator pedal from "returning" to the idle position, this does not account for the many many incidents and reports from owners "without" floor mats in their vehicles and cruise controls that did not disengage. My local Mechanic/Guru has installed a device on my 2005 Camry after a my wife walked home, white as a sheet, after her death-defying 110 mph experience. Thank God it was an open stretch of road and at a time when there wasn't a lot of other cars on the road. She managed to put the car in neutral and move onto the shoulder. The engine was full-throttle and over-revving when she turned it off. And no, no floor mat interference. This is an alarming consumer problem which involves more than just the Toyota/Lexus owner. It involves every single driver and pedestrian on and near the roads today ... think about it! Best regards, Don The mechanic's email is

  • Lou_BC Maybe if I ever buy a new car or CUV
  • Lou_BC How about telling China and Mexico, we'll accept 1 EV for every illegal you take off our hands ;)
  • Analoggrotto Level 50 Trolling at it's finest. Well done.
  • Lorenzo The unspoken killer is that batteries can't be repaired after a fender-bender and the cars are totaled by insurance companies. Very quickly, insurance premiums will be bigger than the the monthly payment, killing all sales. People will be snapping up all the clunkers Tim Healey can find.
  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.