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Toyota hikes profit forecast as strong hybrid demand bucks industry trend

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Toyota Motor Corp hiked its full-year profit forecast, as sales of its hybrid models helped the carmaker defy a wider downturn in the sector.

The Japanese automaker expects operating profits to come in almost nine per cent higher in 2024, at ¥4.9trn (£26.6bn). Analysts had previously forecast a total of ¥4.6trn.

Hybrid sales surged 46 per cent in the third quarter to 951,000 alongside a 10 per cent jump in the company’s total vehicle sales.

Operating profit soared 75.7 year-on-year to ¥1.68trn, while prompting shares to closed 4.8 cent higher.

Toyota said the upbeat forecast came down to “marketing efforts” as sales jumped in all its major regions. North America remained its largest market and reported the largest sales growth, up nearly 28 per cent.

It comes despite a downturn in demand at many of major automakers and falling electric vehicle (EV) sales. EV demand is facing roadblocks in the form of high costs, interest rates and insurance premiums, as well as consumer angst over charging times.

The likes of Ford and China’s GM have both cut EV production, while Tesla’s Elon Musk warned in January of a significant slowdown in sales growth despite aggressive price cuts.

In the UK, new EV registrations fell by nearly a quarter in January, per the most recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Toyota last year unveiled a series of new strategies to shore up its position in the EV and hybrid markets, against feirce competition from BYD, Tesla and Xpeng.

Central to this is its new solid-state battery technology, which has been lauded by experts as a means to address EV battery concerns like charging time, capacity and fire risks.

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