Toyota Reports 39% Drop In First Quarter Profit

Raw material cost increases and sliding US sales dented Toyota earnings, as the Japanese automaker saw profits fall 39% in the fiscal first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier. The report also cites an analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo who says Toyota's numbers are actually far worse than they appeared on the surface because of accounting tricks that were boosting the numbers. So what's really going on at the number-one super-best automaker from the land of the rising sun?

Jalopnik Snap Judgment: A "drop in profit" is significantly different than a "multi billion-dollar loss," meaning Toyota isn't in the same boat as our struggling home-team automakers. Or are they? We really want to know what Credit Suisse analyst Koji Endo means when he says "The numbers on the surface don't look that bad, but when you look at what they are showing, the situation is extremely tough for Toyota." Are losses from a rising Yen, taxes, interest, global sales fluctuations, and other market forces having a bigger effect than Toyota is letting on? Either way, cracks in the armor are starting to show: Scion isn't the youthful gem it once was, Toyota's recent truck launches have been flawed, and the adage "Toyota can do no wrong" is no longer conventional wisdom. [Detroit News]