Toyota Sales Fall 600,000 in First Quarter, Expects Increased Sales for 2012

Toyota took a beating in the first quarter of this year, thanks in no small part to the March earthquake in Japan and a fluctuating currency market. The automaker saw overall vehicle sales slide by 599,000 units to 1.221 million vehicles. Subsequently, revenues amounted to 3.441 trillion yen ($44.48 billion), down 29.4 percent from the same time last year.

“In Japan and North America where the effects of the earthquake were particularly serious, vehicle sales declined substantially,” said senior managing officer Takahiko Ijichi in a prepared statement. “In the Asia region, despite the impact of the earthquake, we were able to maintain a similar level of vehicle sales as the previous year in countries led by Indonesia.”

The North American market was hardest hit, with the auto giant witnessing a drop of 250,000 units between its Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands. Sales totaled 276,000 units, and revenues fell from 80.8 billion yen ($1.035 billion) to 28.9 billion ($374 million).

Sales in the Asian market fell by only 26,000 units to 259,000 vehicles, although operating income for the region was halved from 60.1 billion yen to 30.1 billion. The European market was a similar story; sales dropped by 7.5 percent to 174,000 vehicles, and longstanding operating losses grew to a sizable 7.5 billion yen.Income from Central and South America, Oceana, and Africa proved steady – combined, the marketsprovided 20 billion yen versus 21 billion last year, although sales fell by a third to 220,000 units.

Despite the losses, Toyota’s outlook for the 2012 fiscal year remains positive. The automaker expects full-year sales to total 7.6 million vehicles, up 360,000 from previous forecasts, and revenues to total 19 trillion yen ($245 billion).

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