During the debates leading up to the Detroit automaker bailout, politicians and pundits kept pointing to Toyota and asking "Why can't you be more like them?" Well, they are... sorta. It's looking increasingly likely that Toyota will post an operating loss for the 2008 fiscal year that ends March 31, 2009. The last time Toyota lost money over an entire year was its first 365 days of operation back in 1937/38.

Toyota has apparently been slashing budgets across the board in recent months as sales have dropped by more than 30% in the US and in other parts of the world. At the same time, the value of the dollar against the yen has also dropped, meaning that Toyota is losing out on the currency exchange. Toyota (and Honda and Nissan) are navigating the same severe rapids as Detroit, they just started further upstream. The company has slashed production, canceled a diesel engine program for its big trucks and halted construction on a new factory in Mississippi. A profit warning announcement is expected from Toyota on Monday.

[Source: Reuters]