Can Toyota Motor Recover?

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With shares of Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) trading around $109, is TM an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Toyota Motor is a Japan-based company mainly engaged in the automobile business and financial business. The company operates through three business segments: automobile, finance, and others. Through its segments, Toyota Motor designs, manufactures, and sells vehicles as well as related parts and accessories; offers financial services related to the sale of its products; and is involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of housing, information and communication businesses. Vehicles and related products are seeing increased innovation, and Toyota Motor is at the head of this trend. Toyota has been dominating the competition and has been first to provide new technologies so look for the company to continue innovating.

Toyota has reached a $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. government that ends a four-year criminal investigation into the automaker’s response to safety issues, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday. Under the agreement, the company will admit that it misled U.S. consumers by making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles. As a result, Toyota will pay a $1.2 billion financial penalty under a “deferred prosecution agreement.”  Holder called Toyota’s conduct in the matter “shameful,” and said that the automaker showed “a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers. By the company’s own admission, it protected its brand ahead of its own customers. This constitutes a clear and reprehensible abuse of the public trust.”

The settlement represents the largest penalty of its kind imposed on an automotive company by the U.S. Holder added that “other car makers should not make Toyota’s mistake,” while U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara underlined this point, saying that Toyota’s public admissions should be a warning to other automakers. In a statement early Wednesday, Toyota said it has “cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s office in this matter for more than four years” and had “made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements.”

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