Toyota sees European profit as revamp bears fruit

Mon Mar 4, 2013 3:27pm EST
 
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By Deepa Seetharaman

GENEVA (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T will turn a profit in its European automotive business during the current fiscal year for the first time since 2007, a feat the company expects to repeat in fiscal 2013 as new models help seize market share from rivals.

"In 2013, we want to sell more than 2012, even if we don't know yet what the volume will be," said Didier Leroy, the head of Toyota's European operations. "Based on the market share, we can, we will make a profit."

Since 2010, Leroy has spearheaded a restructuring of Toyota's European business while the automaker faced a safety crisis in the United States and production halts after the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Those cost cuts, which included a 40 percent reduction in headcount at Toyota's headquarters in Brussels, helped boost its bottom line in Europe during fiscal 2012, which ends this month.

The Japanese automaker also is helped by its broad definition of Europe. Toyota counts 56 countries, including Israel and Russia, as part of its European market. By that definition, Toyota sales rose 2 percent last year.

Toyota's car sales in Europe, defined as 27 countries by trade association ACEA, fell 3 percent in 2012.

But that is still better than the 8.2 percent decline that the entire auto industry faced in Europe, where the economic slump has caused auto sales to shrink, ACEA data show.

Next year, Toyota expects sales and market share gains to be buoyed by new models, higher capacity utilization at its factories and further cost cuts.   Continued...

 
Toyota Motor Corp's logo is pictured on a clay model of concept vehicle NS4 at the company's design center building in Toyota, central Japan November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao