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Australia’s biggest seller of cars, Toyota, has seen its profit cut almost in half during the past year as a result of slump in new vehicle sales.

In its 50th anniversary year Toyota Australia has reported a net profit of $123.4 million for its 12 month financial period to March 31, almost half the figure of $242.2 million that its reported in the previous year.

The profit was reported on sales revenue of $8.8 billion, a drop from the previous year’s figure of $9.4 billion.

Domestic retail sales volume, including Lexus vehicles, during the financial period was 229,189 units, for a 24.3 per cent share of Australia’s new vehicle sales. Export sales increased to $1.7 billion with a financial year volume of 94,955.

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During the financial year, manufacturing operations at Altona, in Victoria, produced 130,228 Camry and Aurion vehicles for domestic and export markets, compared with 148,810 vehicles the previous year.

Toyota Australia President and CEO Max Yasuda says the second half of the year saw the global financial crisis severely impact all aspects of the company’s business.

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“The headline number is misleading. The emergence of the global financial crisis in the second half of the year led to a severe and unprecedented deterioration in our vehicle sales, resulting in lower profitability.

“I expect local conditions will continue to be difficult for carmakers and suppliers for the remainder of 2009.

“Australia’s manufacturing competitiveness is being impacted by the global economic crisis, fluctuations in currency, price increases in raw materials and decline in vehicle and parts demand.”

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The company’s statement says Toyota Australia is already taking measures to support its operations during this period to ensure it is in a stronger position when the market recovers.

“We have intensified our supplier and dealer development programs to ensure we have a healthy and sustainable local car industry, Mr Yasuda said.

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“Also, we have undertaken cost efficiency programs, implemented an executive pay freeze and are using non-production time to develop our employees.

“We are doing everything possible to support our people, our suppliers and dealers so we can weather the storm.”

Toyota Australia estimates that industry domestic vehicle retail sales for the calendar year to be 850,000 units.

The company also says that the continuance of the current severe global conditions will result in exports being significantly lower.

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Toyota will continue to adjust production in line with market demand. Toyota Australia is applying all its efforts to ensure results are above break even for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2010.

“There is no doubt that the outlook for 2009 financial period remains challenging. But there will be opportunities for companies that can rapidly adjust,” Mr Yasuda added.

“Fortunately, Toyota, its suppliers and dealers have acted quickly, adjusting plans in line with the new economic environment.”

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Mr Yasuda noted the industry policy settings introduced by the Victorian and Federal Governments aimed at building the long-term sustainability of the local car industry.

Toyota has received a Federal Government grant to build a Camry Hybrid model at Altona from next year.






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