For a while now we've been wondering what the effect of the pandemic will be on the sales numbers of the world's major car manufacturers.

Many carmakers are understandably very cautious about releasing any relevant digits or projections that would give us an idea of what the true effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hesitation is not misplaced; there are a lot of question marks that will be appended to the weeks, months, or even the year ahead.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), however, just gave us a more concrete answer to our questions after they completed their audits for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 which technically ended in March. And here's the surprising bit: the overall global Toyota figures for FY 2019-20 aren't as bad as we thought they would be.

Toyota expects their global sales to drop by 2 million cars this year image

The company sold 8,958,423 units from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020; that represents a slight decrease of 18,372 units compared to FY 2018-19's 8,976,795 units. The figure is remarkable given how many markets had been shutting down in March.

On a per region basis, Japan accounted for 2,239,549 units (+13,372), North America for 2,713,165 units (-31,882), Europe for 1,028,537 (+34,477), Asia for 1,604,870 (-79,624), while Central America, South America, Oceania, Africa, and the Middle East accounted for 1,372,302 (+45,285).

But here's the important piece of information: Toyota released its projection for their sales in the current Fiscal Year 2020-21 which, as expected, will have to factor in the losses that will be brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic currently in progress.

While the decrease from FY 2018-19 to FY 2019-20 was a fairly minimal (-0.2%), the decrease in sales for the current FY will be more severe: Toyota projects that they will sell about 7 million units. That means they think they'll sell about 2 million units less, or about a 22% drop compared to FY 2019-20.

As to what long term effects such a decrease would have on Toyota is still unclear, but Toyota Motor Corporation is forging ahead. The company says they'll use internal funds to push the commercialization of new generation technology geared towards being more environmentally-friendly and towards safety.