Riding on the back of higher vehicle sales, Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corp has returned to black, posting a profit of 153.2 billion yen (about $1.68 billion) for three months ended December 2009.

The auto maker, which is recalling more than a million vehicles in different parts of the world, had a loss of 164.7 billion yen in the same period a year ago.

In the third quarter of fiscal year 2010, consolidated vehicle sales jumped 227,000 units, Toyota said in a statement on Thursday.

Revenues in the December quarter shot up 10.2 per cent to 5.3 trillion yen compared to the same period last year.

“Operating income increased by 549.7 billion yen as a result of improved vehicle sales and the reduction of variable and fixed costs. Factors for the increase include 210 billion yen due to sales volume and mix and 150 billion yen due to cost reduction efforts,” it noted.

Toyota’s Senior Managing Director Takahiko Ijichi said the company’s consolidated vehicle sales for the third quarter reached 2 million 65 thousand units, up 227 thousand vehicles from the same period last year.

Boosted by good third-quarter performance, Toyota has raised its consolidated vehicle sales forecast to 7.18 million units for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. Earlier, the same was projected at 7.03 million units.

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