Toyota says weakening yen will help profits

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Toyota says its full-year profits will be better than expected thanks to a pick-up in sales and a boost from currency fluctuations.

The Japanese firm expects net profit in the year to March of 1.7 trillion yen ($15.1bn; £12.1bn), compared with a previous forecast of 1.55 trillion yen.

That is despite losing its top-selling carmaker status to Volkswagen in 2016,

Meanwhile, Toyota said it had begun formal talks to work with Suzuki on projects including safety technology.

Analysts said the partnership - which could also involve collaboration on vehicles that were less damaging to the environment - would give Suzuki access to Toyota's technology. Benefits for Toyota are likely to include tapping in to Suzuki's strong market position in India.

US focus

The forecast for 2016-17 profits is still below the 2.1 trillion yen profit it recorded a year earlier.

But with Japan's yen weakening against the dollar, it will benefit from sales overseas which are worth more when converted back into the local currency.

Like other Japanese carmakers, Toyota is watching closely for any trade tariffs introduced by the new US administration.

At the moment, only about half of the cars it sells in the country are manufactured locally. Last month, US President Donald Trump criticised it for making vehicles in Mexico to sell over the border.

The US is its biggest market, and it is struggling to meet demand for bigger vehicles such as sport utility vehicles. Lower petrol prices have made such models more affordable to drive.

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