Toyota vows to stick around

‘Segment leader’ … Toyota Camry.Toyota’s local subsidiary insists it will keep manufacturing cars here for the long term, after it ended three years of consecutive losses to record an annual after-tax profit of $149 million.

The Japanese car-maker’s return to profitability in Australia comes just weeks after Ford slumped to a $141 million loss and revealed it will axe almost 1200 jobs when it stops making vehicles in Victoria in 2016.

Toyota’s local operations posted a 23 per cent rise in revenue to $8.9 billion for the year to June. The sale of Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Australia rose 20 per cent to almost 226,000.

The $149 million net profit compared with a $33 million loss a year earlier.

Toyota, which has a 4200-strong workforce in Australia, attributed the improved performance to a resumption of full production following the Japanese earthquake and floods in Thailand in 2011-12.

The car maker would would not break out the financial performance of its local manufacturing operations. It would only say that production at the Altona North factory in Melbourne – its only local manufacturing plant – rose almost 7 per cent to 99,441 cars in 2012-13.

More than two-thirds of the Camry and Aurion cars manufactured in Victoria were exported to the Middle East, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Toyota received $72 million in funding from the federal and state governments during the year.

The car maker’s local boss, Max Yasuda, said in a statement that it was ‘‘doing everything we can to strengthen Toyota Australia and ensure our long-term future in this country as an importer and manufacturer’’.

‘‘Our business is being radically changed to counter both internal and external pressures,’’ he said.

Later, a spokeswoman said Toyota intended to manufacture cars in Australia beyond 2016, when its five-year strategic plan ends. ‘‘If we continue to reach all of our targets … we would hope to be manufacturing for many decades beyond [2016],’’ she said.

Toyota’s Melbourne manufacturing plant employs about 2500 people.

Despite releasing the unaudited figures on Tuesday, Toyota will not lodge financial accounts for its Australian operations with the corporate regulator until next month.

Last month Holden announced a $153 million loss for the year to December.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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