Toyota makes first profit in Europe since 2007

Japanese auto giant Toyota's European business is set to turn a profit in the 2012-2013 financial year after a five-year hiatus, a senior official said on Monday at the Geneva International Motor Show.

"It will be the first time since 2007 that Toyota will be profitable in Europe," Didier Leroy, head of the group's European operations, told reporters.

Over the first nine months of Toyota's financial year -- which runs from April to the end of March -- the group said it had earned 209 million euros ($272 million).

"We will return to profit in our automotive business in Europe," Leroy forecast.

"And there is no question, we will be profitable in 2013," he added.

Europe's auto sector has been stuck in the doldrums owing to the continent's economic crisis, with overall sales expected to fall by three percent this year to 11.5 million vehicles, including the key Russian market.

Toyota is counting on the launch of new models -- notably hybrid cars -- to underpin its deliveries.

Leroy said Toyota's goal was to sell a million vehicles in Europe in 2015.