Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its operating profit dropped 32.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.56 trillion yen (13.84 billion U.S. dollars) in the April-December period due to a comparatively firm yen impacting its profit margins.
The maker of the popular Prius and Vitz models, however, lifted its operating profit outlook for the fiscal year from a previous estimate of 1.7 trillion yen to 1.85 trillion yen, although the figure was down from the previous year by 35.2 percent.
The Aichi Prefecture-based automaker also said its group net forecast would be higher than its earlier projection of 1.55 trillion yen at 1.7 trillion yen, although this forecast was a drop of 26.5 percent on year, Toyota said.
Toyota has been aggressively trying to cut its costs and widen margins by procuring more parts from local sources and selling on a regional basis in a bid to combat the yen's appreciation which has been digging into the auto giant's profits since the U.S. dollar tumbled to 100 yen last year.
Its ongoing restructuring measures since then have been based around the idea that the Japanese currency will average around 107 yen to the U.S. dollar and 118 yen to the euro through March, in comparison to previous projections of 103 yen and 114 yen.
Along with other Japanese automakers, Toyota has found itself in the crosshairs of new U.S. President Donald Trump, who is mandating an "America First" economic agenda, and has accused Japan of deliberately devaluing its currency.
In addition, Toyota vehicles produced in Mexico and bound for North American markets have vexed Trump, who wants to see more cars produced in the United States. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet with Trump later this week and automotive trade is like to be high on both leaders' agendas.
Ahead of the summit meeting in Washington, the Japanese leader met with Toyota President Akio Toyoda on Friday, during which "current affairs" were discussed, according to Toyota.