Toyota – which is close to becoming the world’s largest carmaker – said its first-quarter net profit rose 39%. As well as improved sales in Europe and the US it benefited from a weaker yen against the dollar and the euro.
In the US particularly higher fuel prices meant drivers bought the Japanese company’s more efficient vehicles rather than big gas-guzzling 4×4s.
In capitalisation terms, Toyota is now worth 135 billion euros, more than other carmaker by a huge margin.
Next is Honda which is worth 48 billion. It is also building sales in the US, which is world’s biggest car market.
Daimler Chrysler, which is owned by European, US and other international investors, is third and worth 41 billion euros.
Helped by strong demand for its Prius petrol-electric hybrid model, Toyota sold 17% more vehicles in the US in the three months up to June compared with the same period last year. Its sales in Europe rose 20%.
With expanding production in North America, Europe and Asia, Toyota is on track to soon overtake General Motors as the world’s top car maker in terms of volume.