TOYOTA AUSTRALIA has released its financial year figures for the 12 months to March 31 2009, and, while profits have been halved, it is still in the black. And that's something very few auto manufacturers can claim at the moment.
Certainly things could be worse; in the current global circumstances, turning a net profit of $123.4 million for the fiscal period - though barely more than half the previous years' $242.2 million dollar profit - must be seen as a strong performance for Toyota's Australian manufacturing operation.
While sales revenue dropped, down to AU$8.8 billion from $9.4 billion previously, export sales increased to AU$1.7 billion with 94,995 vehicles heading off-shore. In the current context, this is a strong export performance by Toyota Australia.
For the financial year (ending March 31), Toyota managed 229,189 domestic retail sales, compared to sales of 245,656 for the '08 fiscal year. These figures show just how quickly the market contracted with the onset of the global financial meltdown.
Max Yasuda, President and Chief Executive of Toyota Australia, detailed the challenges facing Toyota in current local and export markets:
"I expect local conditions will continue to be difficult for carmakers and suppliers for the remainder of 2009.? Mr Yasuda said.
"Australia's manufacturing competitiveness is being impacted by the global economic crisis, fluctuations in currency, price increases in raw materials and decline in vehicle and parts demand."
To help shore-up its revenues, Toyota Australia is implementing strategies such as executive pay-freezes, extended cost-efficiencies and additional staff training to put itself in a stronger position for when the market recovers.
With production of an updated Camry to start this month, an update for the Aurion to follow, and production of the hybrid Camry still on schedule for early 2010, there would appear to be good reason for optimism for Toyota Australia. Perhaps it might be catching... we can live in hope.