Japanese car giant Toyota announced a plunge in profits yesterday, but said the year might not be quite as bad as previously expected, as the world\'s number three automaker upped its forecasts. The company said its nine-month net profit fell 57.5 per cent to 162 billion yen (Dh7.78 billion), blaming the continued impact of the March 11 disaster, Thai floods and a strong yen. Toyota said operating profit also slumped by 72.3 per cent to 117 billion yen in the nine months to December, with revenue down more than 10 per cent to 12.88 trillion yen. But Japan\'s biggest automaker raised its full-year profit forecast to 200 billion yen, up 11.1 per cent from the outlook it released in December, and its operating profit outlook to 270 billion yen from 200 billion yen. Higher sales forecast The maker of the Prius hybrid and Lexus said it expected to sell 7.41 million units worldwide in the year to March, 30,000 units more than its December forecast, and to post 18.30 trillion yen in revenue. \"Toyota remains committed to pursuing an improvement of its earnings structure through various cost reduction activities as well as continuing the production recovery from the Japan earthquake and floods in Thailand,\" said Toyota senior managing officer Takahiko Ijichi in a statement. Even if realised, the forecast figure for the full year\'s net profit would still be less than half that of the previous year. As its recovery from a trying year gains pace and production normalises, Toyota is looking to win back customers with new fuel-efficient vehicles. Observers said the forecast upgrade may be thanks in part to the US economy picking up at a faster pace than expected, citing recent better-than-forecast jobs data.