Here’s yet another sign of the econo-polcalypse: Toyota Motor Corp., which has been profitable for decades thanks to steady sales and shrewd leadership, has predicted a loss for the first time in 70 years.


AP via Google News:

“The tough times are hitting us far faster, wider and deeper than expected,” Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told a gloomy news conference at the company’s Nagoya, Japan, headquarters. “This is an unprecedented crisis requiring urgent action.”

Sona Iliffe-Moon, a spokeswoman for the automaker’s U.S. arm., said the company has not had any layoffs since the 1950s.

“As a result of that experience, it became a part of our culture to ensure employment and stability for employees,” Iliffe-Moon said

Toyota had reported strong growth in recent years, boosted by heavy demand for its fuel-efficient models like the Camry sedan and Prius gas-electric hybrid.

But Watanabe said a severe drop in demand, especially in North America, which accounts for one-third of vehicle sales, and profit erosion from a surging yen were too much for Japan’s No. 1 automaker. Overall U.S. auto sales fell to their lowest level in 26 years last month.

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