Toyota has joined a growing list of Japanese multinationals that delivered higher earnings than expected in the second quarter and lifted its full-year outlook thanks to the weaker yen.

Japan’s biggest carmaker by volume also continued with its multiyear effort to boost shareholder returns

by announcing a buyback of up to ¥‎250bn ($2.2bn), which would take the amount of stock repurchased since 2014 to about $15.9bn. This comes less than a week after rival Honda launched its first buyback since 2010.

Toyota now expects to book a net profit of ¥‎1.95tn in the year ending March 31 — up ¥‎15bn from its previous estimate — due partly to expectations for a weaker yen, which it expects to depreciate by ¥1 from its previous forecast to ¥111 per dollar. Its sales forecast was left unchanged at ¥‎28.5tn.

Excluding currency effects, operating profit in the six months to the end of September fell by one-fifth from a year earlier to ¥1.1tn. That compares with a 1.8 per cent decline in yen terms.

“So still there is something we have to do. Especially in the US, there has been a shift in demand from passenger cars to SUVs or pick-up trucks,” Osamu Nagata, Toyota’s executive president, told a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Overall sales in the US, Toyota’s biggest market, were up 0.5 per cent from a year ago in the first nine months of the calendar year. That is despite expectations the US car market will this year contract for the first time since 2009, as well as the broader shift in consumer preferences toward SUVs.
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