Toyota Australia posted an after-tax loss of $437 million last financial year as a result of February’s decision to shut its Melbourne car and engine plants by the end of 2017.
The company, which runs on the Japanese financial year ending on March 31, said its bottom line took an $889 million hit from its decision to shut the doors and restructure. Of this, $505 million came from asset write-downs and $384 million was allocated for employee redundancies.
This hit negated an otherwise healthy operating profit of $266 million, in large part due to the continuing market dominance of its largely-imported model fleet (though its locally-made Camry also dominates the mid-sized sedan market).
Over the past financial year, Toyota and its Lexus arm combined sold 221,771 cars in Australia, with Toyota’s share accounting for 214,706 of these. This is roughly double its nearest rivals, Holden and Mazda.
Production of the Camry and Aurion at the Victorian assembly line in Altona actually grew over the last financial year to 102,590 vehicles (up from 99,441), with more than 67,000 sent to the Middle East, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.
Toyota has secured $30 million in federal funding to build an updated Camry (pictured below) at Altona until the end of 2017.
Total revenue also slipped from $8.9 billion to $8.4 billion.
This year’s loss follows a (revised) $144 million profit posted after tax by Toyota’s Australian division in 2012/13. The company also lost $32.6 million in 2011/12, $13.2 million in 2010/11 and $108 million in 2009-10.
It also comes in the same year as Toyota globally posted a massive $19 billion profit — about double the previous year — on the back of clever currency hedging and improved sales.
Toyota’s loss on the back if plant closures echoes the experiences of fellow Australian car-makers Ford and Holden, which announced in May and December 2013 respectively they too would close their plants here in 2016 (Ford) and 2017 (Holden).
Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner described 2013/14 as “a year of mixed results for the company”,
“Our employees worked incredibly hard to secure the investment for the new-look Camry, which will be built in our Altona plant from early next year,” he said.
“We also exceeded our cost reduction targets for the second year in a row, which was the result of a company-wide transformation activity to strengthen our business.
“However, despite these positive results, there were too many external factors beyond our control that made it unsustainable to continue building cars and engines in Australia in the mid to long term future.
“This has obviously had a significant impact on our results as our focus is now on supporting our employees and ensuring that we have the correct provisions in place as we transition to a national sales and distribution company,” Buttner said.