Toyota bracing for 31% drop in profit

has announced that the company's net income for the fiscal year ending in March may decrease by as much as 31 percent compared to one year earlier. According to Automotive News, the Japanese automaker expects to earn around 280 billion yen, which is about $3.5 billion at current conversion rates. Last year, the company raked in 408 billion yen, or around $5.1 billion. The projected earnings are a far cry from what analysts had predicted. Bloomberg recently averaged the forecasts of 13 analyst estimates at 421.8 billion yen, or $5.3 million.

Toyota is facing a number of hurdles related to the shortfall. Chief among those are production delays tied to the earthquake and tsunami disasters that struck Japan in March of this year. Toyota has a higher level of Japanese production than rivals like Honda or Nissan, and it may take longer for the manufacturing giant to get back on its feet. As a result, Toyota is bracing for a sales decline tied to fewer available vehicles.

In addition, the yen is currently at its highest level against the dollar since the end of World War II, which is making the company's exports less and less profitable.

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