Toyota said today it was on track for a record annual profit as its nine-month net earnings more than doubled to $15 billion on a sharp drop in the yen and surging overseas sales.

The buoyant results underscore a recovery not only for the world's biggest car maker but also for rival Japanese auto giants including Nissan and Honda. 

The three companies have been big winners over the past year as a sharp drop in the yen inflated exporters' repatriated profits, further boosted by improved overseas demand in key markets including the US and China.

China sales fell off a cliff in late 2012 and into last year as a Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic row sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese brands in China, the world's biggest vehicle market. 

Relations remain tense, but Japanese manufacturers have said their dented sales are coming back to pre-row levels.

Toyota said today that it earned 1.52 trillion yen ($15 billion) between April and December on sales of 19.12 trillion yen - propelled by a five-fold jump in third-quarter earnings.

It also boosted a fiscal year to March profit forecast to a record 1.90 trillion yen.

The car maker has ramped up its bid to tap emerging markets while key US demand has also been on the upswing, helping the firm book ever-increasing profits.

"In addition to the positive impact of the weaker yen, our operating income increased due to marketing efforts such as increased vehicle sales and cost reduction activities," Toyota managing officer Takuo Sasaki said.

Last month, Toyota kept the title of world's biggest automaker with 2013 sales of 9.98 million vehicles, outpacing Germany's Volkswagen and General Motors. It said it expects this year to become the first car maker to break the 10 million vehicle sales barrier.

Toyota broke GM's decades-long reign as world's top automaker in 2008 but lost the crown three years later as Japan's quake-tsunami disaster hammered production and disrupted the supply chains of Japanese automakers.

Last week, Honda said its nine-month net profit surged almost 40% to 403.60 billion yen, thanks to brisk global sales and a weaker yen. Nissan reports its financial results next week.

Toyota shares dropped 5.67% as the Tokyo market suffered a sell-off which saw the benchmark Nikkei drop 4.18 percent. Its results were published after the markets closed.