Channel News Asia:  Toyota said on Tuesday (May 12) it expects to post its lowest annual operating profit in nine years as the automaker grapples with the impact of the novel coronavirus, which has sapped global demand for cars.
 Japan’s biggest automaker said it expects operating profit of 500 billion yen (US$4.66 billion) in the year to March 2021, down 80 per cent from 2.44 trillion yen in the year just ended. That would be Toyota’s weakest profit since the 2011/12 financial year.
 The global auto industry is reeling from the pandemic as containment measures such as curbs on public movement have prompted drivers to hold off from vehicle purchases, forcing businesses to shutter production plants.
For the year to March, Toyota expects to sell 8.9 million vehicles globally, versus 10.46 million in the year just ended. The company expects vehicle sales to fall to a nine-year low.
Japanese automakers are bracing for a year of falling car sales as economists anticipate a slow and patchy recovery from the pandemic which may hold people back from spending, while social distancing practices may curb the desire to commute to work, dampening the need for new cars.
A global drop in demand for new vehicles since March has already slashed global sales at Japanese automakers, with annual sales at Toyota falling 1.4 per cent from a year earlier.