Nissan reports record interim group profit

Nissan Motor Co. on Wednesday reported a record group operating profit of 348 billion yen for the first half to September, citing brisk sales in Japan and the United States and reduced operation and procurement costs.

The interim profit is up 84 percent from the same period last year, it said.

Nissan raised its full-year earnings projections, predicting consolidated operating profits of 720 billion yen, up 30 percent from its previous forecast in May.

In light of its favorable performance, Nissan will triple its annual dividend for the 2001 business year to 24 yen per share in 2004 in an effort to attract more individual investors, Nissan President Carlos Ghosn told a news conference.

The official release date of Nissan’s earnings outlook for the April-September period is Nov. 19. Nissan said its expects its consolidated pretax profit to be 323 billion yen, double that of the previous year.

Nissan said its consolidated net profits will also rise 24.2 percent to 286 billion yen and global revenue will increase 10.2 percent to 3.28 trillion yen on car sales of 1.39 million units, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier.

In the Japan market alone, sales volume is expected to rise 12.1 percent to 383,000 units, thanks to increased sales of new models such as the March compact and the Moco minicar, Nissan’s first minicar model, Ghosn said.

For the second half of the 2002 business year, Ghosn said Nissan is confident it can maintain the upbeat trend by launching more new models, although there are some risks, including a possible downturn in the U.S. economy, the port shutdown along the U.S. West Coast and shaky financial markets in Japan.

According to the revised earnings projections for the full business year, Nissan forecasts a consolidated pretax profit of 660 billion yen, up 35.2 percent from May, and a consolidated net profit of 490 billion yen, up 28.9 percent. Global sales will come to 6.8 trillion yen, up 4.6 percent.

Low-emission trucks

Hino Motors Ltd. said Wednesday it will release in the next business year environmentally friendly trucks with only 5 percent the harmful particulate matter emissions of its current models.

The trucks, which feature a mechanism to collect and burn particulate matter, will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, which starts Oct. 30, the maker said.

The new models are the first to be capable of clearing harsh regulations on truck emissions to be introduced in 2005, the maker said, adding the trucks will be the cleanest in the world.

They will also clear regulations on emissions of nitrogen oxide to be imposed in fiscal 2003, which begins in March, it said.

The models are equipped with newly developed clean-exhaust engines as well as a ceramic filter mechanism, which burns particulate matter on the strength of a special catalyst, it said.

The trucks run on diesel fuel with low sulfur content, it added.

Spiano goes turbo

Mazda Motor Corp. on Wednesday began selling a turbo-charged version of its Spiano minicar.

Mazda said the Spiano Turbo includes safety features such as ventilated disc brakes and an antilock braking system.

A two-wheel-drive version is available for 1.143 million yen, while the 4WD model costs 1.265 million yen.

Mazda launched the original Spiano in February.