TOKYO (1) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) mentioned on Tuesday it expects profit to drop by 80% to its lowest in 9 years, as Japan’s greatest automaker grapples with the impression of the novel coronavirus which has sapped world demand for autos.

The anticipated injury to Toyota’s backside line highlights how carmakers will wrestle to get better from the virus within the coming months as they progressively restart factories after curbs on public motion prevented staff in lots of nations from commuting.

The trade expects restricted output on account of fractured provide chains and social distancing measures at vegetation, together with weak demand as job losses and concern about an financial downturn weigh on client spending on main purchases like automobiles.

Toyota, one of many world’s most worthwhile automakers, expects to take a whopping 1.5 trillion yen ($13.95 billion) hit from a fall in world automobile sales this yr due largely to the virus, but it nonetheless expects to eke out an working profit of 500 billion yen within the yr to March.

“The coronavirus has dealt us an even bigger shock than the 2008 world monetary disaster,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda mentioned at a livestreamed media briefing.

“We anticipate a giant drop in sales volumes, however regardless of that we predict to stay within the black. We hope to develop into a pacesetter of the nation’s financial restoration.”

Toyota sees its working profit in free fall from 2.44 trillion yen within the yr simply ended, to its weakest profit for the reason that 2011/12 monetary yr.

The automaker forecast world sales of 8.9 million autos – a nine-year low – versus 10.46 million within the yr simply ended. It expects sales to get better to 2019 ranges subsequent yr.

Toyota’s outlook got here as rivals together with Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) and Common Motors (GM.N) have shunned issuing forecasts, citing uncertainty concerning the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Honda posted its weakest annual profit in 4 years, after a 28% drop in fourth-quarter automobile sales plunged the automaker into an working lack of 5.2 billion yen, its first quarterly loss for the reason that March 2016 quarter.

Japanese automakers are bracing for a yr of falling car sales as economists anticipate a sluggish and patchy restoration from the pandemic.

In consequence, some analysts see a reduce in annual world automobile sales by round a 3rd, in contrast with an 11% fall in 2009/10 after the worldwide monetary disaster.

Toyota expects sales to stay weak by December, earlier than returning to 2019 ranges someday subsequent yr.

DEMAND SLUMP

Within the yr ended March, Toyota mentioned it took a 160 billion yen profit hit from the virus on account of a reduce in annual sales of 127,000 autos from a document excessive of 10.6 million final yr.

For interactive charts on Toyota’s monetary efficiency, click on right here tmsnrt.rs/3fHr4QA.

FILE PHOTO: A brand of Toyota is pictured at Bangkok Auto Salon 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, July 4, 2019. Image taken July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The impression was felt hardest in North America, a key market, the place sales fell 8% throughout the March quarter, leading to an working loss there.

Regardless of the profit stoop and a pointy reduce to margins, Toyota mentioned it could pour greater than 1 trillion yen every into capital expenditure and R&D funding, holding spending largely unchanged from final yr.

“We can’t cease investing sooner or later,” Working Officer Koji Kobayashi informed reporters.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Modifying by Kim Coghill, Christopher Cushing and Giles Elgood