updated 11/1/2004 9:33:11 AM ET 2004-11-01T14:33:11

Toyota Motor Corp. reported Monday record group sales and profits for the six months ended Sept. 30 as strenuous marketing and cost-cutting efforts boosted sales worldwide.

Japan's largest automaker said net profit jumped 11.4 percent from a year earlier to 584.04 billion yen, or 176.32 yen per share, against the previous year's 153.36 yen.

According to the Shinko Research Institute, Toyota's net profit is an all-time first-half high for any Japanese company.

Toyota posted a record-high consolidated net profit of 1.16 trillion yen in the business year ended in March, becoming the first Japanese company to achieve a net profit exceeding 1 trillion yen. It is expected to rewrite the record in the entire current year through next March 31.

Pretax profit gained 12.5 percent to 913.22 billion yen on a 12.8 percent rise in operating profit to 866.25 billion yen and a 9.7 percent increase in sales to 9,025.67 billion yen.

Toyota said marketing and cost-reducing efforts boosted its operating profit by 260 billion yen and 70 billion yen, respectively, which more than offset the yen's higher-than-expected exchange rates versus the U.S. dollar and increased spending on research and development.

The earnings data, computed under U.S. accounting standards, were all record highs as they were in the first half of fiscal 2003.

"Our ongoing efforts to introduce products that meet individual customer needs, as well as the optimization of our production organization worldwide, allowed us to grow and improve efficiency in the first half," Toyota Executive Vice President Ryuji Araki said.

Toyota said its global sales volume also reached an all-time high of 3.57 million vehicles, up 12.5 percent on year for the sixth straight half-yearly increase, with domestic sales up 2.3 percent to 1.11 million units to push Toyota's domestic market share up by 2.1 percentage points to 44.6 percent.

Sales in North America strengthened 12 percent to 1.13 million vehicles, eclipsing those in Japan for the first time ever on a half-year basis, on the back of brisk demand for its popular Prius hybrid cars and Scion passenger cars for young drivers.

Sales in Europe amounted to 476,000 units, up 8 percent, while those in other regions such as Asia rocketed more than 33.5 percent to about 858,000 vehicles.

On a parent-only basis, Toyota reported a pretax profit of 442.38 billion yen, down 13.4 percent from a year earlier, and a net profit of 263.74 billion yen, down 22.0 percent, on sales of 4,459.74 billion yen, up 3.7 percent.

Net profit per share came to 79.61 yen, compared with 98.52 yen a year earlier. But Toyota said it will pay out an interim dividend of 25 yen, up 5 yen from the previous year.

For the full year to next March 31, Toyota expects an unconsolidated pretax profit of 890 billion yen and a net profit of 540 billion yen on sales of 9.1 trillion yen.

Toyota did not provide consolidated earnings projections for the entire year.

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