Toyota's quarterly operating profit rose 10 percent as gains from favorable foreign exchange rates offset weakening business in the U.S. market, where rising incentives and falling wholesale volume dented regional profitability.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda feels the pressure of steering his company through a rapidly transforming industry where new entrants and technological advancements are forcing the family scion to rethink an 80-year-old business. As a result, he's betting on alliances and investments in areas from fuel cells to artificial intelligence. One thing the 61-year-old sees enduring through the decades is people's “friendship” with their cars.
Toyota's rebalancing of its once car-heavy mix means vehicle sales are now just slightly ahead of last year's numbers. Lexus, however, has not fared so well on the luxury side with just too many sedans.