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Toyota finds profit in Europe thanks to hybrid sales

Earnings up 75 percent for 2014 fiscal year

In the land of diesel, Toyota appears to be making money its own way and thereby making more of it. The Japanese automaker is taking on Europe's diesel-centric ways by substantially boosting sales of hybrids on the continent. That, along with cost cutting measures, has increased the company's European profitability, Automotive News says, citing recent remarks by Toyota's European operations chief Didier Leroy.

Toyota, which lost money in Europe between 2008 and 2011, started turning things around two years ago by cutting labor at places like UK factories while consolidating production of models such as the Auris and Yaris hybrid vehicles. During the most recently completed financial year, Toyota Europe reported earnings that were up 75 percent from the year before, despite revenue being up just five percent. The company also aims to sell at least 1 million vehicles in Europe by next year and is boosting sales in countries like Russia.

Late last year, Didier told Bloomberg News that Toyota's European market share was rising about one percentage point a year, while production at Toyota's factories in countries like France, Turkey and the UK were running at full capacity. Toyota estimated at the time that hybrids accounted for about a fifth of Toyota's European sales.

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