TOKYO -- Counting on redesigned models to attract buyers, Toyota Motor Corp. last week raised its North American sales forecast for this fiscal year.
For the year ending March 31, 2006, Toyota aims to sell 2.5 million vehicles in North America. That's up from 2.43 million it had planned in May and 2.27 million it sold there in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.
The automaker expects strong sales of the Toyota Prius hybrid, Avalon sedan and Tacoma pickup as well as the Lexus GS sedan to help reach the target.
"We'd like to solidify our presence in North America further," says Takeshi Suzuki, senior managing director in charge of finance and accounting.
Bending to the Big 3 price war in the United States, Toyota said it spent $1,090 per vehicle for incentives in the fiscal first quarter that ended June 30.
That figure is up from $930 the automaker spent in the same quarter of the previous year.
Toyota's North American operating profit rose 6.2 percent to $1.25 billion in the quarter.
The gains were not strong enough to lift Toyota's bottom line. Weighed by smaller profits in other regions and costs for r&d, marketing and other items, Toyota's consolidated operating profit dropped 9.7 percent to $3.66 billion.
Separately, Mazda Motor Corp. said it aims to sell 268,000 vehicles in the United States for this fiscal year ending March 31, up 2.0 percent from the previous year.
It is counting on the six-seat Mazda5 minivan and the remodeled
MX-5 Miata to support the plan.
The Mazda5, a redesigned Premacy in Japan, went on sale in June in the United States. The roadster will debut this month.
For the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, Mazda posted a 14.2 percent gain in consolidated operating profit to $206.3 million. Revenues were $6.06 billion, up 4.4 percent. But its net income plunged 96.4 percent to $3.8 million. It wrote down the value of fixed assets to meet stricter accounting rules in Japan.
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