Toyota Expects First Operating Loss In 70 Years

So it isn't just poorly-made American cars that are feeling the pinch: TOKYO — Toyota Motor will lose money in its core automaking business for the

So it isn't just poorly-made American cars that are feeling the pinch:

TOKYO — Toyota Motor will lose money in its core automaking business for the first time in 70 years this fiscal year, the company said Monday, in a sign of how the global economic crisis is hurting even the mightiest carmakers.

The Japanese auto giant, which has been neck and neck with General Motors to be the world’s largest vehicle-maker, said it still expects to eke out a narrow group net profit for the year, which ends March 31, 2009.

But the company, which just a few months ago appeared to be riding above the ills that have crippled Detroit, said it has seen plunging sales not only in North America but even in emerging markets, which initially seemed to be immune to the United States malaise.

“The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years,” Toyota’s president, Katsuaki Watanabe, told a press conference in Nagoya, Japan, near the company’s Toyota City headquarters. Sales last month dropped “far faster, wider and deeper than expected.”

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