Tokyo, Japan – Toyota Motor Corporation has adjusted its forecast and now estimates a loss equivalent to US$4.9 billion for the 2008 fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2009. It is the company’s first loss since 1950.

Consolidated vehicle sales for the third quarter, which ended December 31, 2008, were 1.84 million units, a decrease of 443,000 vehicles compared to the same period in 2007. In Japan, sales dropped by 76,000 vehicles to 465,000, while in the U.S., sales dropped by 235,000 vehicles to 521,000 units.

In other markets, sales fell by 73,000 vehicles in Europe; by 19,000 in Asia; and by 40,000 in Central and South America, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East.

“Both revenues and profits declined severely during this period,” said vice-president Mitsuo Kinoshita. “The negative results are largely due to lower vehicle sales volume under difficult market conditions mainly in the U.S. and Europe, and the rapid appreciation of the yen against the U.S. dollar and the Euro.”

 Toyota estimates that consolidated vehicle sales for the fiscal year will be 7.32 million units, a decrease of 220,000 vehicles from the forecast it announced in December 2008.

 Kinoshita said that the company has been operating under the “Emergency Profit Improvement Committee” since November 2008, which has focused on maximizing revenue by developing new products and cutting costs. The company plans to further reduce fixed costs by about $5.5 billion.

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