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Toyota sees profit in European auto business in fiscal 2012-13

A visitor walking past cars is reflected on a Toyota car at the company's showroom in Tokyo February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
A visitor walking past cars is reflected on a Toyota car at the company's showroom in Tokyo February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

GENEVA (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.T> automotive business in Europe will be profitable during its current fiscal year for the first time since 2007, Didier Leroy, the head of the Japanese automaker's European operations, said on Monday.

The company believes its car business will continue to be profitable during its fiscal 2013 year, buoyed by new models and the growing popularity of hybrids in Europe, Leroy said during a media roundtable a day before the opening of the Geneva car show.

Toyota's fiscal 2012 ends in March.

Hybrids will account for at least 17 percent of its sales in Europe this year, he said, up from 13 percent in 2012.

Analysts said the weak yen is now allowing the company to offer higher incentives on its models, while still maintaining a good profit margin. Leroy said the automaker is enjoying the benefits of the weak yen, but that this is not a part of the automaker's long-term strategy.

"We don't want to build our business model on the currency situation," he told reporters.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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