From today's Automotive News email blast....... TOKYO (Reuters) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest automaker, forecast a much bigger-than-expected $8.6 billion loss for its current fiscal year and said it would sell about 1 million fewer vehicles as it scrambles to cut costs amid a severe market downturn. The global crisis that has battered demand for cars and pushed U.S. rival Chrysler into bankruptcy has hit Toyota hard, reversing its rapid expansion into overcapacity almost overnight. Dozens of its factories stand half idle. The Japanese giant made the forecast as it posted its first-ever annual consolidated operating loss, for the fiscal year that ended March 31, after a record profit the year before. In the January-March fourth quarter, Toyota booked a $6.9 billion loss, in line with consensus estimates, and cut its annual dividend nearly 30 percent -- the first cut since at least 1994, when it changed its reporting period. While the entire industry is caught in the slump and seeking to offload cars piled up in stockyards, Toyota has been especially vulnerable due to its exposure to the United States and Japan, where sales have plunged to multi-decade lows. Even in China, Toyota has bucked the market's rise with a fall so far this year. "Toyota's outlook was worse than I'd expected. The company expects a really tough time for the first six months," said Naoki Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. "I expect the bottom for the auto industry is the April-June period, followed by a slow recovery."