UPDATE 2-Toyota flags 3rd year of record profit on strong US sales, cost cuts
* Sees FY net profit up 3.5 percent to nearly $19 bln
* N. America sales seen up 4.8 pct; globally to drop 0.8 pct
* Q4 net profit up 50 percent; last FY net profit up 19 pct (Recasts, adds president comment, Q4 results)
By Chang-Ran Kim
TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said it will crank net profit up to a third straight record this year as cost cuts and rising U.S. sales offset weaker business elsewhere, building on bumper earnings last year powered largely by foreign-exchange gains.
Reporting net income jumped 50 percent in the quarter ended March, the world's top-selling automaker said on Friday it expects net profit to rise 3.5 percent to 2.25 trillion yen ($18.75 billion) in the year that began in April.
The forecast assumes the dollar will be worth 115 yen on average this year. That's conservative compared with 120 yen currently, implying Toyota's net profit for the year may yet come closer to the 2.44 trillion yen average estimate of 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
For the past few years, President Akio Toyoda has called an "intentional pause" for the company founded by his grandfather. The strategy seeks to ensure sales growth stays at a sustainable pace, free of the overcapacity and quality problems that plagued the company in previous years.
"I think we are at a stage where we can move on to putting into practice what we have been preparing during the intentional pause," Toyoda said at a news conference in the capital. Continuación...