TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. may forecast first-half losses as Japan's two biggest carmakers struggle to restore full production disrupted by the nation's record earthquake.
Toyota may post net losses of 155 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in the three months ending June 30 and 241 billion yen for the six months ending Sept. 30, according to the average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg in the past four weeks.
Nissan's six-month net loss may be 48 billion yen, based on the estimates. In the worst case, combined losses for the nation's carmakers and suppliers may be "the biggest ever," surpassing those at the time of the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis, Noriyuki Matsushima, an analyst in Tokyo at Citigroup Inc., said last week.
Matsushima said output reductions by Japanese carmakers may continue until April 2012. "Automakers will run out of inventory at overseas plants in the second quarter, so figures for that quarter may be lower than those in the first quarter, even as they begin to raise production levels," he said.
Toyota, Nissan and Honda are working to restore full operations after the magnitude-9 temblor and tsunami damaged factories and caused parts and power shortages. Toyota's lead over General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG, the world's second- and third-largest carmakers, may be narrowed this year as Toyota expects production may not return to normal until November or December.
Toyota will report fourth-quarter earnings on May 11 and Nissan on May 12
During the financial crisis, Toyota's net loss for the year ended March 2009 was 436.9 billion yen, while Nissan's was 233.7 billion yen. Honda Motor Co., Japan's third-largest carmaker, reported a profit of 137 billion yen.
Keisuke Kirimoto, a spokesman for Toyota, said he couldn't comment on earnings projections or on the scale of the impact from the earthquake relative to the financial crisis or last year's record vehicle recalls by the company. He also declined to say whether Toyota will provide a half-year or full-year forecast next week. Toyota President Akio Toyoda on April 22 also declined to comment on the quake's impact on earnings.
Mitsuru Yonekawa, a spokesman for Nissan, didn't return calls made to his cell phone.
All of Japan's automakers halted production after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged parts factories and power plants, causing shortages of components and electricity.