TOKYO — Toyota eked out a 1.1 billion yen ($14 million) quarterly profit and raised its annual earnings forecast Tuesday as it mounts a comeback from the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Still, the April-to-June profit was a fraction of the 190.4 billion yen the company earned a year earlier.
Quarterly sales fell 29 percent, to 3.44 trillion yen ($44.68 billion), because Toyota made far fewer cars after the March 11 disasters destroyed parts suppliers in the country's industrial northeast.
Toyota cited how auto sales had held up in Asian nations such as Indonesia in raising earnings and sales forecasts for the fiscal year through March.
Toyota now expects to sell 7.6 million vehicles worldwide, up from an earlier forecast of 7.24 million vehicles, and better than the 7.3 million it sold the previous fiscal year.
But that's unlikely to be enough to avert losing its crown as the world's biggest automaker by vehicle sales to General Motors.
Christopher Richter, analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Tokyo, said he thought it would be a remarkable achievement in the face of the disasters if Toyota manages to keep its No. 1 spot.
Toyota staying in the black rather than posting a significant loss was surprising and good news, given how bleak things looked even a month ago, he said.
"They bounced back and managed to do better than street expectations," Richter said. "In balance, this is a positive announcement."
The automaker now expects an annual profit of 390 billion yen ($5.1 billion) compared with its previous forecast of 280 billion yen ($3.6 billion) profit. The new forecast is still 4 percent lower than profit in the previous year.
Toyota raised its annual sales forecast to 19 trillion yen ($247 billion) from 18.6 trillion yen ($242 billion). That would mark a slight improvement from the previous year's 18.99 trillion yen.
Toyota recorded lower vehicle sales in all key regions around the world in the latest quarter, including Japan and North America.
But it is optimistic about a comeback in the second half of the fiscal year. Toyota has said car production is almost back to normal after initially warning that restoring full capacity would take until late in 2011.
Toyota sold 1.22 million vehicles worldwide in the quarter, down about a third from 1.82 million vehicles during the same period in 2010.