The startling drop in performance has been attributed to the U.S. leasing crisis, a strong yen, falling sales of large SUVs and pickups, plus growing inflation in other areas.
Speaking with Automotive News, Toyota’s executive vice president Mitsuo Kinoshita said that sales were down significantly but vehicle residual values were remaining steady. "Relatively speaking, we are selling vehicles at high residual values, and we are not impacted greatly right now," Kinoshita explained to reporters.
In recent years, Toyota has relied on the North American market to provide roughly half of its total operating profit, which explains the 39% drop the carmaker is currently experiencing. While the North American market remains stagnant, Toyota is settings its sights elsewhere - especially in burgeoning markets such as the Middle East and Russia, which are still experiencing strong economic growth.
Last week the company also announced that it will lay-off up to 800 workers at a plant in Japan that builds SUV models for its Lexus brand as well as the Highlander SUV.