China sales marks Toyota’s profit while U.S. weakness continues

Toyota Camry Extremo images

Toyota Motor’s quarterly profit edged up as demand for its car models from cost-conscious Chinese customers helped offset bleak North American sales, although the company’s shares slipped as it cut its yearly net income outlook.

The automaker attributed the smaller forecast to unrealised losses from equity investments, but, in a sign that business was still fine, it kept its full-year operating profit view unchanged at 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion).

The automaker posted Asian sales of 464,000 units in the third quarter, increasing 15 percent from a year previously, as strong demand in China for its Corolla and Levin sedans continued into the end of the last year.

Prominence of its luxury Lexus brand also helped it buck a wider slowdown in China.

Toyota’s global sales increased 2.8 percent to 2.71 million units with Asia making up for the slack in North America, where its sales slipped 7.5 percent to 680,000 units.

Toyota has been affected in the United States by declining sales of its marquee sedan models such as the Corolla and the Camry, and by its steep discounting to increase sales over the last two years as total demand stagnates.

In contrast, the Corolla, Levin and Camry happened to be Toyota’s top three selling models in China in last year, outselling larger ones like the RAV4 SUV crossover, as consumers reined in expenses amid an economic slowdown inflamed by a Sino-U.S. trade war.

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