Toyota's quarterly profit more than quadrupled to $1.5 billion, and the automaker gave upbeat forecasts as it recovers from a sales plunge caused by the tsunami in Japan last year.
Japan's No. 1 automaker forecast Wednesday that profit for its business year ending in March 2013 would soar to $9.5 billion. Net profit plunged by 30 percent, to $3.5 billion, for the recently completed year.
The annual results were better than the company projection for a $2.5 billion profit, as well as the FactSet estimate at $3.49 billion. That, along with the jump in profit for the January-March quarter, is a sign of a turnaround from last year's tsunami that hobbled Toyota production around the world.
Toyota's profit for January-March the previous year had been dismal at $318 million because of the damage from an earthquake and tsunami that hit March 11, 2011. Flooding in Thailand, which disrupted supplies, added to the decline.
Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, said that its vehicle sales grew in Japan, Europe and Africa, but not in North America. However, it is regaining market share there.
The automaker expects to sell 8.7 million vehicles in this business year, 1.3 million more than the nearly 7.4 million sold for the year ending in March.
Rising gas prices and concerns about global warming are major plus factors for Toyota and other Japanese automakers that excel at producing compact, fuel-efficient models.
Toyota's image suffered in North America over a series of massive recalls since 2009, and its U.S. sales fell last year. But its sales and market share in the United States have almost recovered.