Toyota, one of the biggest car makers in Japan, grapples with a significant profit dip amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the auto company announced a profit drop of 80% -- the lowest in nine years -- as the pandemic takes its toll on the company’s sales.

Curbs on public movement across the globe have affected global demand for vehicles. Even as car factories are set to gradually restart in the coming months, Toyota expects that their road to recovery won’t come easy due to broken supply chains and social distancing measures that are still in place. The company also expects low demand for cars as many people have lost jobs and the global economic downturn weighs on consumer spending, especially on major purchases like cars.

In a statement, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said their global vehicle sales this year would plunge by up to 1.5 trillion yen ($13.95 billion) due to the coronavirus. Despite that, the company still expects to stretch an operating profit of 500 billion yen in the year to March.

“The coronavirus has dealt us a bigger shock than the 2008 global financial crisis,” said Toyoda. “We anticipate a big drop in sales volumes, but despite that we are expecting to remain in the black. We hope to become a leader of the country’s economic recovery,” he added.

While automakers Honda Motor Co Ltd and General Motors have refrained from issuing forecasts for this year due to the pandemic, Toyota has revealed its global sales forecast of 8.9 million cars this year, lower than the 10.46 million cars sold in 2019. However, the auto company expects to bounce back in 2020 and achieve 2019 levels of sales as the world recovers from the global health crisis sometime next year.

Toyota’s forecast is consistent with economists’ projections of Japanese automakers’ slow and sparse recovery from the pandemic. As the coronavirus continues to crush the economy, analysts predict a cut in annual globe vehicle sales this year by around a third.

Toyota FT1 The beautiful Toyota FT1 design study suggests the potential return of the Supra. Danny Choy / Latin Times