By on February 7, 2012

Today, Toyota announced its October-December 2011 results to reporters packed into its basement meeting room in Koraku-en, Tokyo. Like most Japanese companies, Toyota is on a fiscal year that spans from April to March the following year. The reporting quarter was the third of the 2012 fiscal. It was surprisingly good. From October to December, TMC had an operating profit of 149.7 billion yen ($1.95 billion,) up 51 percent to from a year earlier. It gets better …

First, the room has to endure a speech that must have been written in Excel, rattled off by Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi (right.)

His Managing Officer Shigeru Hayakawa must have read the speech before. He uses the time to nod off concentrate intently. High suspense: We hear complaints that the government had taken a bigger bite of that profit due to “tax reform,” slashing the net profit to 80.9 billion yen.

Hayakawa-san continues to listen intently. We hear that when the fiscal ends on March 31, TMC will likely have an operating profit of 270 billion yen ($3.5 billion), and a net profit of 200 billion yen ($2.6 billion.) “The other guys are doing much worse,” whispers a reporter next to me. Indeed, today the Nikkei dips on announcements that other Japanese companies will report rotten numbers three months from now.  Less than a year ago, large parts of the country were smashed to bits, what do you expect? I definitely expected losses.

What really puts a fire under the room`s imagination is when Ijichi talks about how resolutely Toyota has been and is digging itself out if the triple whammy caused by the Tohoku tsunami, the Thai flood, and the towering yen.

Suddenly, what had sounded like an ambitious plan, namely that Toyota wants to raise its 2012 global sales by a whopping 21 percent to 9.6 million, begins to sound believable.

For 2012, Ijichi cites projections of the Japanese Auto Manufacturers Association JAMA that put the total Japanese market at 5 million this year. He thinks that it is not unreasonable when “we expect our market to be 1.63 million units including minivehicles.” For the Toyota/Lexus brand alone.

In the U.S., Toyota conservatively projects the total market to be 13.6 million, and, says Ijichi, considering that “we are going to introduce 19 models this year, we are planning to sell 1.9 million units in the North American market.”

Intentional slip of the tongue to hedge his bets? Toyota sold 1.64 million cars in the U.S. alone in 2011, after 1.76 million the year before. Together with Canada and Mexico, Toyota was pretty close to 1.9 million units last year in North America.

Europe is difficult to forecast, says Ijichi. But he aims to lift China from 880,000 units last year “to at least one million units … or more than that.”

Edmunds noted yesterday that “Toyota is still faced with supply issues; it averaged 33 days to turn in the last quarter, which is about half of the industry ideal of 60 days to turn.” Contacts at Toyota confirm this and say it will last through this quarter. After March, all dealers are expected to be fully stocked.

Hayakawa-san is wide awake when the usually dry and buttoned-up Ijichi takes a deep breath and declares in closing:

“In the past several years, our marketing people and our production people had encountered many hardships. They could not produce as they wanted and they could not sell as they wanted. Next year, finally we can exercise our capabilities in earnest.”

Mind, you, in Toyota’s calendar, “next year” begins this April.


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13 Comments on “At Toyota’s Results Conference: “Next year, finally we can exercise our capabilities in earnest”...”

  • avatar

    There’s no doubt about their capabilities- they have the engineering mojo to do whatever they put their minds to. Too bad that doesn’t currently include making a halfway competitive non-hybrid B or C class car for the US.

  • avatar

    Well done Toyota. I work for a Japanese shipping company, and we are doing TERRIBLY this year, and our peers aren’t doing any better. The combination of a crap economy and sky high Yen are killing us.

  • avatar

    For a car company to place 3rd in sales, ttac sure gives them allot of bandwidth. I hope the number 1 & 2 receive similar treatment.

    • 0 avatar

      We come to any car company that invites us.

      If I get a front row seat and good material, there even may be two stories in a row.

    • 0 avatar

      GM and Volkswagen NEVER get coverage around here…

    • 0 avatar

      GM can sell a bizillion WuLings and have the “units sold” crown, but in terms of the worth as a finacial entity, Toyota is roughly 4x the size of GM.

      • 0 avatar

        @wsn “but in terms of the worth as a finacial entity, Toyota is roughly 4x the size of GM.”

        … and toyota can go suck on a rock for all we care. With so many americans bending over for them no wonder this country is going to the dogs!!

        Roughly 4X the size of GM? How, in number of employees and debt? GM is building a million more cars than toyota with 2/3rd the employment, they have $4B in debt to $36B in cash, while Toyota has $119B in debt and $39B in cash. GM net profits for 2011 – $8.4B, almost 4 times that of Toyota’s $2.6B. Operating income of $9.6B vs toyo’s $3.5B.

        There are two things that will hopefully send Toyota 6 feet under or at least out of our shores to where they came from. The strong yen which isn’t going anywhere and year after year of losses in their home market. For the first 9 months, losses in domestic operations total Yen 300B or $3.9B for just 9 months.

        It’s a story repeating across all sectors. Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, Nintendo, Canon and others are reporting huge losses and getting their rears kicked by American Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Motorola etc. The Japanese govt has no ammo left to continue to prop up their industrial bases anymore. The teet has run dry.

      • 0 avatar

        Alluster – I assume no one has responded yet to your post because it’s so absurd. You talk of the Japanese government “propping up” companies like Toyota almost the same breath that you celebrate GM’s debt-free status. You know the US government might have had a hand in the latter, right?

        Your racist attitude – because that’s what it is – prevents you from seeing reality. Both companies are global companies. Toyota builds as many cars here as GM, and has shown more loyalty to its US workers. In fact, Toyota taught the rest of the industry most of what they know about modern manufacturing. GM, Chrysler, Ford – all those turnarounds were due to lessons learned from Toyota, a company that appreciates the improvements that come from good competition.

        I, for one, am sick of people who are stuck in the 1940’s whining on car boards every time Toyota comes up. The truth is that you are just scared of people different from you. Please grow up and join the modern world.

      • 0 avatar

        @ alluster – you Go!
        I love this line from imag, in particular,”Toyota builds as many cars here as GM, and has shown more loyalty to its US workers.”
        Ah, yes, reminds me of a little heralded newspaper headline from back in 2007 or ’08 that read “Toyota hires 700 to work at Woodstock plant.” Lost in the shuffle was that the same week, Ford laid off 2,400 over in Oakville, about a 45 minute drive.
        Yes, that is what passes as logic in the new business paradigm. Toyota and Honda feed us a few assembly plants and we pant like happy little poodles. The Japanese wore us down; the Koreans aren’t even going to bother paying lipservice. I can’t wait until Toyota and Honda begin howling about the Koreans!
        I’d wager that it’s pretty easy to be ‘loyal’ to workers that have only been around for 10 or 20 years. Didn’t I read somewhere that GM was the largest healthcare provider in the U.S.? That more people were on GM’s pension plan than worked for either Toyota or Honda in America?
        I could go on, but you already know this stuff. Sugar beet import quotas were passed around by MITI like confetti back in the day to offset various companies losses overseas. The Japanese government has nearly bankrupted its banking system to subsidize its multi-nationals overseas. It has taken an earthquake to finally end this charade. Japan Inc is broke. There will be no more oats and honey back home.
        No, it’s easier to harass and target Detroit in our local press where the laundry is aired in a language and culture we understand.
        Racism? Yes, I suppose it is racist that nobody bothers to live in Japan to uncover the truth, in English, so the sheeple can understand the sheer enormity of what Japan Inc wrought upon our shores through the 1960s and 1970s.
        Racist? I guarantee we in the West do NOT want to know what is said or thought of behind our backs.
        Very few Westerners understand the eastern mind. Is that why GM never bothered to sell vehicles in Japan, while they do very well in South America, the Middle East and Europe? Was that racism or laziness?
        The facts are there. People are too lazy to look, or perhaps they have a vested interest in not finding them…?

      • 0 avatar

        Carbiz – did you realize you just proved my point? Toyota was hiring while Ford was laying off. Are you blaming Toyota for building cars people wanted to buy? Do you understand that Toyota’s approach to workers is to avoid firing them at almost all costs?

        And if you think American companies haven’t practiced global imperialism on a scale larger than any other country, you are nuts. Right now, we are demanding that other countries write laws against their own populace in order to benefit our corporations – check up on the ACTA. Don’t try to scare us with your “Eastern Mind” xenophobia. The “Western Mind” has done things at least as horrifying.

      • 0 avatar


        “Very few Westerners understand the eastern mind. Is that why GM never bothered to sell vehicles in Japan, while they do very well in South America, the Middle East and Europe? Was that racism or laziness?”

        China is also in the East, just saying.

  • avatar

    Where do they expect to get the 21% increase in sales? Europe as stated will probably be flat, the US/North American market (depending on if it was a slip of the tongue) will be 0 to perhaps 10%. China is estimated to grow by at least 13%. What is the prediction for Japan? Also the ROW will have to grow by much more than 21% to cover Europe and North Americas relative under performance.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    I also thought Toyota could exert their capabilities in calendar 2009 and 2010. The natural disasters were a 2011 (and into Q1 2012) issue. Has the yen been an issue for a prolonged period?

  • avatar

    From Yahoo Finance:
    GM market cap $40.1 billion
    Toyota market cap $124.82

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