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Toyota profit jumps by 70%

Toyota's quarterly profit has surged 70% as a weaker Japanese yen and cost cuts helped offset a slight decline in vehicle sales.

The firm said July-September net profit rose to 438.4 billion yen (£2.76 billion) from 257.9 billion yen (£1.62 billion) a year earlier.

The Tokyo-based maker of the Prius and Yaris raised its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2014 to 1.67 trillion yen (£10.5 billion), but it kept its sales forecast at 9.1 million vehicles, anticipating that higher than expected sales in Japan, North America and Europe will be countered by a decrease in Asia.

The company raised its capital spending plans by 20 billion yen (£126 million) to 940 billion yen (£5.9 billion).

Quarterly sales slipped to 2.24 million vehicles from 2.25 million vehicles a year earlier.

Toyota last month said its global sales for the first nine months of the year totalled 7.41 million vehicles, little changed from the previous year but outpacing General Motors to keep its lead as the world's top-selling car maker.

GM lost the global sales throne to Toyota for the first time in 2008 but retook the crown in 2011, when Toyota's plants were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan that damaged suppliers of parts. Toyota recovered the lead last year.

While GM and Germany's Volkswagen have been growing in China, Toyota's sales have suffered from anti-Japanese sentiment that flared up last year over territorial disputes.

Toyota's growth has come largely from the popularity of the Camry, Corolla and Tundra in the US. The company's sales numbers includes heavy trucks made by Toyota's group company Hino Motors, so the competition is hotter when such models, which GM lacks, are excluded from Toyota's tally.

Toyota's president Akio Toyoda has stressed the company's determination to avoid any quality lapses similar to those that led to a massive recall fiasco in the US that came on the heels of the financial crisis.

The weakening of the Japanese yen over the past year has played a huge role in the company's improved profitability, while drawing complaints from its rivals. Toyota calculated its revenues and income using an exchange rate of 99 yen per US dollar in April-September this year, compared with 79 yen per dollar last year.

It gained 280 billion yen (£1.76 billion) in net income from foreign exchange effects.

Toyota executive vice president Nobuyori Kodaira said it will focus on improving its cost controls and profit per vehicle.

Profit rose 83% in the first half of the fiscal year to 1 trillion yen (£6.3 billion).

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