TOKYO, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp posted a forecast-beating 4.4 percent rise in April-June operating profit and raised its U.S. vehicle sales target for the year to next March, boosted by strong sales of SUVs and pickup trucks in its biggest market.
Toyota, the world's best-selling automaker, said on Tuesday its first-quarter operating profit was 692.7 billion yen ($6.76 billion), exceeding the 637.3 billion yen mean estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
For the year to March 2015, Toyota stuck with its full-year operating profit forecast of 2.3 trillion yen. That would be a record high, although just a 0.3 percent increase from a year earlier as the tailwind from a weaker yen that helped boost export profits runs out of steam.
A sales-tax hike in Japan in April dented demand for new cars and Toyota's April-June domestic sales dropped 9.6 percent year-on-year to 319,460 vehicles.
Toyota raised its full-year North America sales projection to 2.71 million vehicles from 2.62 million. In July, Toyota's total U.S. sales rose 12 percent, surpassing Ford Motor Co to become the No.2 seller for the month.
$1 = 102.47 Japanese yen Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Matt Driskill