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According to Reuters, Toyota Motor Corporation (TM - Analyst Report) is hopeful that its redesigned ES 350 sedan will boost the sales of its luxury vehicle brand Lexus. The company plans to launch the 2013 Lexus ES 350 and its hybrid version, the 300h, in August.
In 2011, BMW was recognized as the top selling luxury vehicle, followed by Daimler AG’s (DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz with Lexus occupying the third place. The brand lost its top place owing to the shortage of vehicles after the earthquake in Japan.
Toyota expects the young generation to be more interested in the Lexus model given its sportier design. The vehicle includes a spindle grill which narrows in the middle. With the renovation and new design of Lexus, sales are expected to be about 5,000 units a month.
The company anticipates a 25% year-over-year hike in sales of the Lexus brand to 250,000 vehicles in U.S. The 2013 Lexus ES 350 would be an added advantage in achieving the goal.
Toyota witnessed a 30.5% decline in profits to ¥283.56 billion ($3.7 billion) or ¥90.20 ($1.17) per share in its fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from ¥408.18 billion or ¥130.16 in the prior fiscal year. However, the results missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.52.
Revenues in the year went down 2% year over year to ¥18.58 trillion ($241.59 billion). The decrease in revenues and profit was due to the challenges faced by the company owing to the disasters in Japan and Thailand as well as unprecedented strength of the yen.
Japan-based Toyota is the leading automaker in the world in terms of sales and production. Its product portfolio consists of a full range of models from passenger cars, minivans and trucks as well as related parts and accessories. The company’s other competitors include General Motors Company (GM - Analyst Report) and Honda Motor Co. (HMC - Analyst Report).
Currently, Toyota retains a Zacks #1 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Strong Buy rating. We have a long-term (more than 6 months) Outperform recommendation on the stock.
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