Toyota cut its global consolidated sales forecast to 8.3 million vehicles for the current fiscal year, from an earlier outlook of 8.6 million vehicles. It also expects to lose output of between 100,000 and 200,000 vehicles in March because of the semiconductor bottlenecks. All told, Toyota said it could lose output of up to 480,000 vehicles from January through March.
As recently as mid-January, Toyota was targeting a fiscal year production plan of 8.9 million vehicles. Last year, when it was more confident about chips, it expected to churn out 9.3 million vehicles. It has now revised its outlook to 8.5 million.
"The plan for 8.5 million units is based on our taking into account all the supply shortages for parts that are currently expected and conservatively reducing the forecast," the company said.
With the outlook for recovery unclear, Toyota is reviewing production plans on a "daily basis."
But Toyota's current struggles have overshadowed the reality of its fundamentally strong earnings.
In the October-December fiscal third quarter — even as its profit fell — the company still posted an operating profit that was more than double the combined profits of Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi. It also sold nearly as many vehicles as those Japanese rivals combined.
Despite the 21 percent tumble in its operating profit, Toyota still delivered a 10 percent margin.
Moreover, Toyota's profit targets for the fiscal year ending March 31 represent the second-highest earnings on record at the company, coming in just shy of its all-time high.
Finally, the world's biggest automaker kept its global retail sales forecast unchanged at 10.3 million vehicles for the fiscal year ending March 31, including Daihatsu and Hino sales.
That would be an increase from 9.9 million vehicles in the previous fiscal year and fall just shy of the record 10.6 million vehicles sold in the fiscal year ended March 2019.
Embattled Nissan, on the other hand, is rebounding from two straight years of losses and rebuilding from a low base. While tight supply has capped sales volume at Nissan, it has also helped Nissan hold down incentives on the vehicles it can deliver, bumping up profitability.
Nissan's Gupta said a long-term fix for kinked supply needs a concerted effort between automotive and non-auto sectors to improve chip supply and demand as far as 10 years into the future.
"The more semiconductors we get, the more growth we will have," he said. "Our business plan will be driven by how many cars we can make, rather than how many cars we want to sell."
Nissan originally targeted global sales of 4.4 million vehicles this fiscal year. It now sees 3.8 million.