Toyota’s Watanabe in crisis mode, expects global profits to drop 73.6%

Toyota’s President Katsuaki Watanabe is now in crisis mode after the Japanese automaker, who basically seemed immune to any situation where profits would decline, suffered a big loss in North America. Toyota said that it now expects global operating profit to drop 73.6 percent to ¥600.0 billion ($5.83 billion USD) when the fiscal year ends on March 31st.

The U.S. market alone has distorted Toyota’s profit picture. About three months ago Toyota said that it expects operating profit to drop a modest 30 percent to $15.5 billion.

Sales in North America during April through September fell 9.4 percent to 1.36 million vehicles, a total of $335 million operating loss.

According to Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita things won’t improve until late 2009.