TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. reported Monday that its second-quarter profit tripled, driven by a recovery from natural disasters, and it raised its full-year earnings forecast despite a sales slump in China.
Toyota, on track to regain the title of world’s No. 1 automaker this year, reported a July-September net profit of $3.2 billion, compared with a $1 billion profit a year earlier. The result was better than the $3 billion quarterly profit forecast by analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Sales for the second fiscal quarter improved 18 percent to $67.6 billion as the demand for Toyota vehicles picked up across all major regions, including North America, Europe, Japan, and Asian nations other than China. For the quarter, Toyota, which makes vehicles including the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid, and Lexus luxury models, sold 2.2 million vehicles around the world, up from 1.8 million the same period the previous year.
It expects to sell 8.75 million for the full fiscal year through March, 2013, up by more than a million vehicles compared with the 7.35 million sold the previous year. But the latest projection is 50,000 fewer vehicles than the 8.8 million Toyota projected in August. Toyota said the drop comes from the sales slump in China, as well as Europe.
Japan’s top automaker raised its profit forecast for the full fiscal year through March, 2013, to $9.8 billion from $9.5 billion.
It had a profit of $3.5 billion the previous fiscal year, when production was hammered by the tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan and flooding in Thailand.
The company’s optimism comes despite a sales plunge in China, where a territorial dispute over tiny islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China has set off protests and a boycott of Japanese cars in recent months.
Executive Vice President Satoshi Ozawa said Toyota had recovered from last year’s disaster-related parts shortages and was able to boost profits despite the disadvantage of a strong yen. A strong yen erodes the value of overseas earnings of Japanese exporters such as Toyota.