Toyota said Wednesday that net profit soared 50 percent in the third quarter and upgraded its full-year forecasts as the global auto industry gradually recovers from the pandemic. The world's top carmaker made 838.7 billion yen ($8.0 billion) in the three months to December, compared with 559.3 billion yen a year earlier, it said as it revised up full-year forecasts for the second straight quarter.
Toyota said it saw net profit at 1.90 trillion yen for the fiscal year to March, compared with its earlier estimate of 1.42 trillion yen.
Sales are now seen at 26.5 trillion yen, compared with the 26.0 trillion yen previously forecast.
The firm last year overtook Volkswagen as the world's top carmaker for the first time in five years.
Analysts said it was bouncing back quicker than some competitors from the effects of the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
"Toyota is steadily recovering from the impact of the new coronavirus so far this fiscal year," said Satoru Takada, auto analyst at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm.
"In a tough business environment, Toyota is outperforming its rivals," Takada told AFP before the announcement.
The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the global auto sector but demand recovered swiftly in the second half of last year, most notably in the US and China.
"Japan's auto industry showed a steady performance as major markets are recovering from the negative impact of the new coronavirus globally," Takada said.
"But we should not be too optimistic as the current shortage of semiconductors is forcing carmakers to cut back production," he added.
On Tuesday, Toyota's smaller rival Nissan upgraded its full-year profit forecast, beating market expectations to return an operating profit for the first time in four quarters.
Honda also revised upward its full-year outlook as net profit more than doubled in the third quarter.
But Nissan and Honda downgraded their sales forecasts for the current fiscal year, citing in part the chip shortage.
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