Toyota Motor Corp., which recently overtook General Motors in sales to become world's largest automaker, on Friday said it could see an operating loss of 450 billion yen (4.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the fiscal year to March, due to the plunging sales amid global economic downturn, Xinhua reported.
If finalized, it would be the first time that the auto giant has fallen into the red since comparable data became available in fiscal 1963.
The company lowered its earnings forecast for the third time and said it now expects to incur 350 billion yen (3.9 billion U.S. dollars ) in group net loss for the fiscal year to March 31.
The projected loss for fiscal 2008 compares with a net profit of 50 billion yen (560 million dollars) the firm projected less than two months earlier and contrasts with a record-high 1.72 trillion yen (19 billion dollars) profit it logged the previous business year.
In addition to weakening demand, Toyota also attributed the downward revision to its earnings forecast to the yen's steep appreciation against other major currencies.