TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. is one of the strongest carmakers in the world. It is on track to post industry-record profits of more than $10 billion for the fiscal year that ends March 31. It has been gaining market share in North America and Europe and continues to dominate the Japanese market.
But it has one thing in common with the earnings-challenged U.S. Big 3 - its stock is in near free-fall.
Despite a modest recovery last week, which was in line with a global market rebound as the uncertainty over the situation in Iraq cleared somewhat, Toyota's stock price is off by more than 25 percent from the start of the year.
And at the close of Tokyo trading last Thursday, March 20, Toyota was down 28 percent from a year ago, at ¥2,840, or about $23.47 per share. The markets were closed in Japan on Friday, March 21, for a national holiday.
It has lost half its value over the last two years, even as it posted a string of record earnings.
For the same 12-month period, Ford Motor Co.'s share price has slid 54.5 percent; General Motors is down 43.3 percent; and DaimlerChrysler AG, 35.3 percent.
In contrast, shares of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., arguably a riskier investment than mighty Toyota, are weathering the sell-off nicely. Nissan closed last Thursday at ¥856, or about $7.10, down 11 percent from a year ago.