Toyota quarterly profits gain

Toyota Motor Corp.'s profit rose 2 percent in the July-September quarter, lifted by sales around the world - in sharp contrast with the dismal results at U.S. counterparts General Motors and Ford.

Japan's No. 1 automaker on Friday reported its group net profit for the quarter rose to 303.7 billion yen (US$2.6 billion; Ђ2.2 billion) from 297.4 billion yen the same period a year ago. Sales for the quarter rose 9 percent to 4.97 trillion yen (US$42 billion; Ђ35.5 billion) from 4.5 trillion yen.

The results put Toyota on pace to set a record net profit for the full fiscal year through March 2006 for the fourth straight year.

Toyota does not give consolidated forecasts, but it said Friday it expected to sell 8.03 million vehicles for the current fiscal year, up 60,000 vehicles from its August forecast.

That annual figure is still fewer than General Motors Corp.'s yearly sales, but if current trends continue, Toyota will overtake GM in the next few years. Toyota has already passed up Ford Motor Co. as the world's second biggest automaker.

Both GM and Ford are seeing their U.S. market share dwindle at the expense of Toyota and other Asian automakers. GM and Ford have also been offering huge incentive discounts to sell their cars, which have slammed their earnings, AP reports.

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