Global auto giant Toyota Motor Company has reported record full year profits.

The Japan-headquartered company, now world number two, says 2004 profits reached a massive ¥1.17 trillion ($11.08bn; €8.6bn; £5.88bn), up 0.8% on the previous year. However, net profits in the last quarter to March 31 fell to ¥290.7 billion.
Fujio Cho defended Q4's 17% slide: "There's bound to be a pause as we invest more for expansion and R&D to secure future growth."

Nevertheless, the figures are another slap in the face to US-headquartered world leader (by sales), General Motors, which lost $1.1bn in the first quarter, and to its US rival Ford Motor Company whose profits fell to $1.2bn in the same period.

Toyota says unit sales rose to 7.4 million last year, rising by 78,000 in Japan to lift its domestic market share to 44.5%. Sales in the key North American market hit 2.27m, up 168,000. European sales were up 81,000 to 979,000 and rose 362,000 in other global markets including Asia, to 1.77m.

The company says it is planning to invest ¥1.25tr in new factories and vehicle development to gain market share from its biggest competitors.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff