By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 7:49 am
 

Globally, Toyota posted a hefty $3.2 billion net profit during the second quarter of 2012, about triple what the automaker saw last year as it was struggling to recover from the earthquake and tsunami that rocked northern Japan.

The strong figures helped Toyota ratchet up its annual net profit forecast by 2.6 percent to $9.7 billion.

Toyota says that a 45 percent increase in sales in its key North American market helped it double regional operating profit to $807.1 million. In part, the strong figures come from big increases in vehicle production; the automaker built 42 percent more vehicles during the quarter in North America (391,000 cars).

Toyota sold 4.16 million vehicles during the first half of a fiscal year that ends on March 31, an increase of 1.49 million cars. Its biggest individual movers in the United States so far this are the Lexus GS (up 422 percent), the Toyota Land Cruiser (up 71 percent) and the Lexus LX 570 (up 59 percent), while its biggest overall volume models are the Toyota Camry (344,714), Toyota Corolla (243,652) and Toyota RAV4 (145,103).

The strong figures in North America offset weaknesses in China, where a combination between relatively modest overall new car sales growth and backlash against Japanese automakers following a territorial dispute essentially halved the automaker's sales. However, Toyota is a smaller player in China than its domestic rivals, Nissan and Honda, so it was not as affected by a general buyer discontentment toward Japanese products.