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Japanese Automaker Toyota Reports Record Earnings - 2003-11-07


Japan's largest automaker reports record earnings while the country's top cosmetic maker sees its profit slide.

Toyota Motor is powering ahead, becoming Japan's largest company by market value and reporting record sales and profit for the first six months of the year.

Toyota's market capitalization, the value of its shares, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange now totals about $112 billion, surpassing mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo, the previous market leader.

Toyota said this week that its net profit rose 23 percent to $4.8 billion for the first half of the year compared with the same period last year. Revenue rose eight percent to $75 billion. Toyota credits cost cutting and global marketing efforts for its strong results.

Managing Director Takeshi Suzuki tells reporters that he is pleased with the company's performance. He adds that the automaker is increasing local production around the world to minimize the effects of volatile currency exchange rates.

Toyota says it aims to control 15 percent of the world auto market by 2010, up from the current level of just over 10 percent.

Japan's second biggest automaker, Honda, is recalling almost 700,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada because of a defect.

Honda says it will recall five models including the popular Accord sedan because of a faulty mechanism that causes parked cars to roll. The recall will cost the company $32 million.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there have been four injuries linked to the defect and more than 100 complaints have been made about it.

Japan's biggest cosmetics maker posted weak earnings. Shiseido say its net profit declined 34 percent in the first half of the fiscal year to $60 million, from the same period a year earlier.

Overseas sales, which account for a quarter of the company's revenue, were down sharply. Many Japanese women buy cosmetics overseas at duty-free shops where they are less expensive. But many would-be travelers stayed home this year because of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.