Mike Stevens | Jun 27, 2014

Toyota Australia has this week joined Holden in announcing an unenviable record, confirming a $437 million loss for the last financial year - its worst ever.

The news follows the May announcements of a biggest-ever $552.8 million loss for Holden and a $267 million loss for Ford - the blue oval’s second worst year on record.

Toyota confirmed in February that it would follow Holden and Ford in ending its Australian manufacturing program, described by chairman Max Yasuda as “a loss-making business despite our best efforts”.

Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner said that despite positive results in other areas - reducing costs and securing investment to build the refreshed Camry - much of Toyota’s losses could not be saved.

“There were too many external factors beyond our control that made it unsustainable to continue building cars and engines in Australia in the mid to long term future,” Mr Buttner said.

"This has obviously had a significant impact on our results as our focus is now on supporting our employees and ensuring that we have the correct provisions in place as we transition to a national sales and distribution company."

Restructuring costs over the past financial year (unlike Holden and Ford, Toyota runs on the financial year of its Japanese homeland) have cost the company $889 million, including $505 million in asset write-downs and $384 million for employee redundancy packages.

The company reckons that if not for these costs, it would have been on track for a $266 million profit.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, Toyota Australia posted a $144 million profit, while this year the carmaker’s global profits topped a huge $19 billion.

Mr Buttner was upbeat on the brand’s sales strength however, highlighting its market position and the popularity of the imported Corolla range.

"Toyota retained its overall market leadership for the 2013 calendar year for the eleventh consecutive year," he said.

"This was led by Corolla being named the highest-selling vehicle last year and strong sales from a number of our vehicles, including HiLux and the locally built Camry.”

He added that, while local production continues, the company’s export program remains a significant part of its overall business plan with more than 67,000 vehicles exported to the Middle East, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands.

Toyota Australia currently employs 3,900 people throughout Australia.

Some 2500 Toyota manufacturing employees are expected to lose their jobs before local production ends.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions estimated in May that Australia will lose up to 50,000 direct skilled jobs, with an impact on the economy of as much as $21 billion.

MORE: Toyota announces exit
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