Toyota Motor is likely to report a lower loss for this business year than originally forecast, a Japanese broadcaster said.

The automaker had forecast an operating loss of JPY850bn (US$8.9bn) for the year ending 31 March 2010 but NHK said it would now likely several tens of billions of yen lower due to strong sales of the redesigned Prius and other hybrid vehicles, boosted partly by government tax incentives in Japan.

Analysts had already estimated that Toyota's loss forecast would prove to be far too pessimistic, Reuters noted.

The market consensus was for a loss of JPY474.6bn, according to the average of 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.