Toyota to buy back shares as profit rises

Tokyo - Toyota reported profit rose 13% in the second quarter and announced a share buyback, as a weaker yen added to earnings momentum ahead of an overhaul of its product lineup starting with the new Prius hybrid.

Net income in the three months through September climbed to ¥611.7bn, in line with the ¥611.1bn average of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Toyota maintained its full-year profit forecast at a record ¥2.25trn. The company will buy back up to 0.72% of shares for as much as ¥150bn, according to a statement.

Japan’s dominant automaker overcame weak domestic demand to reclaim its position as the world’s top-selling carmaker.

As Volkswagen stumbled and faces a global emissions scandal, President Akio Toyoda is embarking on a revamp of Toyota’s lineup. The new Prius hybrid will start a shift for half of Toyota’s models to cheaper platforms that share more common parts by the end of the decade.

“The Prius can move the needle for Toyota,” Steve Man, an auto-industry analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said before the earnings announcement. “Everybody’s bringing hybrids, electric vehicles or a combination of those, so they need to be at the forefront.”

Toyota cut its global sales target to 10 million units from 10.15 million units.

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