Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday lifted its net profit forecast for the year ending March to a record 4.5 trillion yen ($30.3 billion) from an earlier projection of 3.95 trillion yen due to robust post-pandemic demand, but it also lowered group car sales outlook following a series of quality scandals.

The latest figure for fiscal 2023 represents an 83.6 percent rise from the previous year. Sales are now forecast at a record 43.5 trillion yen, up 17.1 percent and compared to the November estimate of 43 trillion yen, the Japanese automaker said.

The upward revisions came even as the Toyota group cut its annual sales volume forecast to 11.23 million units from 11.38 million, affected by recent quality scandals involving group firms Daihatsu Motor Co. and Toyota Industries Corp.

The group firms were found to have rigged data for safety and engine output tests, resulting in a shipment halt of some Toyota cars. Auto analysts have said workers at those companies were under pressure to keep up with Toyota's high pace of production.

"It's been a short-distant sprint, and some suppliers were feeling strained," Toyota Executive Vice President Yoichi Miyazaki told reporters. "We hope to review our cruising speed so we can run a long-distance race."

For 2023, the Toyota group sold a record 11.23 million vehicles, topping the global auto sales ranking for the fourth consecutive year by beating Volkswagen AG of Germany, which sold 9.24 million cars.

A weaker yen has also helped boost its overseas profits and increase the price competitiveness of its products abroad, Toyota said, adding that price hikes for its cars improved its profit margin.

Toyota expects the U.S. dollar to trade at 143 yen on average for the fiscal year, compared with a previous assumption of 141 yen. The new estimate is expected to boost its annual operating profit by 235 billion yen, it said.

Every 1 yen fall against the dollar boosts its operating profit by 50 billion yen, according to the automaker.

Despite the quality issues, Toyota posted stellar results for the nine months ended December as it ramped up production worldwide to respond to pent-up demand following the coronavirus pandemic.

Its April-December net profit more than doubled to 3.95 trillion yen on sales of 34.02 trillion yen, up 23.9 percent, both record highs for the period, Toyota said.

For the nine months ended Dec. 31, the Toyota group sold 8.56 million cars globally, up 8.6 percent from a year earlier. Thanks to the high demand for hybrid vehicles, sales increased across all major markets, such as Japan, North America, and Europe.

"Sales of hybrid cars are on the rise in all the regional segments," Miyazaki said. "Our customers continue to ride them as the optimized solution" to environmental issues.

The company's sales of gasoline-electric hybrid cars increased 37.9 percent to 2.65 million units for the nine months, amid a slowing sales trend for all-electric vehicles globally due to their relatively lower mileage and a shortage of charging stations.

The earnings results were positively received in the stock market, with the company's market capitalization at the end of Tuesday trading in Tokyo exceeding 50 trillion yen, a first for a Japanese company.

Despite the upbeat outlooks, the company is still faced with uncertainties as it does not know how long production and shipment halts will last at its group firms.

"The number of vehicles that were affected by the scandals at Daihatsu and Toyota Industries will remain an uncertain factor," Miyazaki said. "We will consider the pace of our production for next fiscal year" after reviewing the current operations.

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