Toyota prepares for a stormy future

TOKYO - Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda takes hitting another record high profit in his stride. He is more concerned with getting in place the structural changes that will set his company on the path to sustainable growth for the next few decades.

Toyoda announced a record-breaking fiscal 2014 in a May 8 earnings announcement. "I believe that our financial results are the outcome of continuous efforts made by individuals within our company," he said.

The automaker's operating profit rose 20 per cent from a year earlier in 2014. No doubt, the weaker yen supported the automaker. Still, Toyoda emphasised that the low-key efforts of staff to improve profitability mattered most, as they help increase capacity utilization rates at plants.

Group operating profit for fiscal 2015, based on U.S. accounting standards, will likely mark a third consecutive record high for Toyota. The automaker also expects a 2 per cent increase in operating profit for this fiscal year.

But change is in the air. Toyota needs to adapt to new realities that will reach the market in the coming years. Transformative technologies, such as self-driving cars, suggest the auto industry is at a turning point.

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