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Toyota turns sharply towards a US profit
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-05-08 13:11

Toyota Motor Corp, the world's second-biggest car maker by annual vehicle sales, is raising its US prices later this month amid growing worries about its profit growth in the American market.

Starting in the middle of May, Toyota will raise the price on some models, including the 2008 Yaris sedan by US$200, or 1.6 percent, to US$12,425. The 2009 Camry will go up US$200, or 0.9 percent, to US$18,920, the car maker's US unit said in a statement.

The hybrid Camry, introduced as a 2007 model in late 2006, will cost US$300 more, or 1.1 percent, at US$25,650, according to a May 2 release.

Like other Japanese car makers, Toyota is enjoying sales growth while American car makers are struggling. Soaring gas prices have increased demand for the smaller, fuel-efficient cars that Japanese car makers are famous for.

Toyota faces a challenge in maintaining profits partly because of the recent decline in the dollar, which erodes the value of overseas earnings of Japanese exporters. Worries are also rising about how a US economic slowdown may hurt sales.

Toyota is set to release earnings today where it could report its first profit drop in nearly a decade.

But it's still faring better than its US rivals. GM lost US$3.3 billion in the first quarter. Ford had a surprise profit of US$100 million for the first quarter but expects to lose money this year as the US car market deteriorates.

Atsushi Kawai, auto analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities in Tokyo, said raising prices about 1 percent won't make up for the damage Toyota's bottom line is expected to suffer from a weak dollar. The dollar, trading at about 114 yen last year, fell below 100 yen in March and is now trading at around 105 yen.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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