TOKYO -- Japanese truckmaker Hino Motors Ltd. said on Thursday it aimed to more than double its operating profit by 2005 from last year through drastic cost cuts and by expanding in the U.S. and Chinese markets.
Unveiling a three-year business plan, Japan's biggest truckmaker owned 51 percent by Toyota Motor Corp. said it aimed to rake in group operating profit of 42 billion yen ($355 million) in the business year starting in April 2005, up 120 percent from last year.
"And by 2010, as part of the Toyota group's broader targets, we aim to sell 150,000 vehicles a year globally to become one of the world's top five truckmakers," President Tadaaki Jagawa told a news conference.
In 2001, Hino was the world's 11th-ranked truckmaker, with sales of 52,000 units.
Despite the forecast for a sharp rise in profits, Hino expects revenues to fall steadily between 2003 and 2005 led by a drop in domestic truck demand and fiercer price competition.
But it said it would aim to boost its operating profit margin to 4.8 percent in 2005 from 2.3 percent last year, by spending 30 to 50 percent less on parts and slashing the number of components by one-tenth.
As part of the plan, Hino said it would also restructure its U.S.-based subsidiaries, converting a wholly owned unit that sells parts in Latin America into a manufacturing company to begin building trucks for the U.S. market in October 2004.
Hino aims to boost its U.S. sales to 10,000 units a year by 2006, compared with 2,000 units now.
Last month, Hino reported a more than doubling in full-year operating profit to 19.19 billion yen, significantly above its own and most analysts' estimates, helped by brisk sales in the core Southeast Asian market.
For the current business year to next March, Hino forecast another big jump in operating profit to 31 billion yen, a more than tripling in net profit to 16 billion yen, and a seven percent rise in sales to 910 billion yen.