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Toyota's Profit Hit Shows Even The Big Boys Feel Heat

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When Toyota reported a drop in fiscal first quarter profits of 28%, it immediately sparked a slew of e-mails from those of you who think I "favor" the Japanese automaker.

In general the comments say, "Take that Toyota Phil, even your beloved auto company is hurting."

My reaction? After first chuckling at the suggestion Toyota is my "beloved" automaker, is to say, "Duh."

Of course Toyota's profits are going to drop. Note, the company did not report a loss for the quarter, just a decline in profits compared to the same time last year. The company's U.S. sales are down more than 6 % this year. It's suspended production of Tundra pick-ups, and like all automakers, it is feeling some impact from the collapsed leasing market.

That's my point. Toyota is feeling the slumping auto market here in the U.S. It may be weathering the storm better than the Detroit 3, but it still feels the sting of a sluggish economy.

I often hear people say, "Detroit's automakers deserve what they're getting right now because if they didn't make bad decisions they would be thriving right now like Toyota and Honda." While Toyota and Honda are still profitable, they are also flying a little lower.

All automakers, even Toyota, are wrestling with one of the worst slumps this industry has seen in years.