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Toyota Seeks Talks to Buy Korea Parts, Trade Officials Say

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., headed for its lowest profit in three years, is seeking talks to procure components from South Korean companies including Hyundai Mobis, two trade agency officials said.

The Japanese carmaker asked the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to arrange meetings today and tomorrow in Seoul with South Korean auto-parts makers, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the meetings are private. Toyota and Hyundai Mobis officials didn’t immediately comment.

Purchasing components from outside Japan may help Toyota cut costs after the yen appreciated more than any other major currency this year. It would also allow the company, which has lost market share to General Motors Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., to diversify procurement after Thailand’s worst floods in almost 70 years disrupted output at car factories in Japan and the U.S.

“Procuring parts from Korea will definitely benefit Toyota in combating the strong Japanese currency and also in diversifying production to prepare for natural disasters,” said Masatoshi Nishimoto, a Tokyo-based analyst at research firm IHS Automotive. “While Toyota’s production was severely hurt this year by the March 11 earthquake and the floods in Thailand, Hyundai was barely hurt.”

Toyota Boshoku Corp. led declines among Toyota’s Japanese suppliers in Tokyo today, dropping as much as 4.8 percent to 802 yen. Denso Corp., maker of car electronic parts, fell as much as 3.2 percent and Tokai Rika Co. fell as much as 3.5 percent. Hyundai Mobis rose as much as 1.6 percent in Seoul trading.

Dion Corbett, a spokesman at Toyota, which slashed its annual profit forecast by 54 percent last week, said he couldn’t immediately comment.

The Asahi Newspaper reported earlier that Toyota officials would meet Hyundai group officials today and tomorrow.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rose Kim in Seoul at rkim76@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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