Toyota said Friday its annual profit accelerated 19 percent to a record $18.1 billion as the world's biggest automaker capitalised on a weak yen and strong demand in North America, despite being sideswiped by a series of recalls.
The maker of the Corolla and Prius hybrid beat its earlier forecasts with the 2.17 trillion yen net profit in the fiscal year to March, driving past earnings of 1.82 trillion yen a year ago.
Revenues rose six percent to 27.23 trillion yen, while the Japanese giant predicted it would book an even bigger 2.25 trillion yen net profit in the current business year.
Toyota's operating profit rose 20 percent -- largely owing to cost cuts and a sharp decline in the yen, which inflates the value of exporters' repatriated profits -- even as total vehicle sales edged lower to 8.97 million units.
President Akio Toyoda put the jump in operating income down to "favourable foreign exchange rates and cost reduction efforts that more than offset negative factors such as decreased vehicle sales and increased expenses, including the investments to enhance our future competitiveness".
Sales to North America and Europe rose, while they turned down in Asia and in Japan after the government last year hiked the country's sales tax for the first time in 17 years, a move that hammered consumer spending.
Toyota has been focusing more attention on squeezing out productivity gains and better using existing plants -- it put on hold the building of new factories for several years.
The Japanese carmaker began operating a new Thai plant in 2013, but since then it has halted investment as the global car market has struggled with oversupply and weak demand.
Last month, the company announced it was ending the construction freeze as it unveiled plans for a $1.0 billion plant in rising industry power Mexico and another production line in China.