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In a bid to cut costs and meet stricter environmental standards, Nissan Diesel Motor Co. announced Monday it will buy diesel engines for midsize trucks from Hino Motors Ltd. starting in 2004.

Nissan Diesel said it will purchase 13,500 diesel engines for some 10 billion yen annually from Hino, the biggest heavy truck maker affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp.

Hino’s new engines, featuring low particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide emissions, will be installed in Nissan Diesel trucks with a loading capacity of 4 tons. The trucks will be marketed in Japan and overseas, Nissan Diesel officials said.

Nissan Diesel decided to suspend its own production over concerns of increased research and development costs.

The government is expected to introduce stricter diesel-exhaust regulations in 2003.

Nissan Diesel said it will focus on development of small and heavy-duty trucks as well as environment-friendly technologies.

The two firms said they are also discussing the possibility of using Nissan Diesel’s condensed natural gas system for Hino’s midsize engines.

Nissan Diesel ranks fourth in the domestic midsize truck market with a market share near 15 percent.

Regained profitability

Nissan Diesel Motor Co. said Monday it regained profitability in fiscal 2000 for the first time in two years on the back of a restructuring drive.

Nissan Diesel, of which Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA each have 22.5 percent stakes, registered a consolidated net profit of 604 million yen for the year ended March 31, compared with a net loss of 728 million yen the previous year. Group pretax profit stood at 3.96 billion yen, compared with a loss of 9.61 billion yen the previous year.

Group net profit per share came to 2.34 yen, compared with a loss of 2.88 yen. Group operating profit was 12.64 billion yen, while group sales grew 7.5 percent to 404.67 billion yen, it said.

While domestic sales expanded 12.7 percent, overseas sales were up by only 0.1 percent due in part to the slowing U.S. economy.

On an unconsolidated basis, net profit came to 2.8 billion yen, compared with a loss of 44.07 billion yen the previous year.

Pretax profit came to 2.16 billion yen, and operating profit stood at 8.42 billion yen on a sales rise of 15.5 percent to 276.39 billion yen, it said.

For the current business year, the firm expects group earnings to remain almost unchanged, with sales of 400 billion yen, pretax profit of 4 billion yen and net profit of 600 million yen.

While demand for trucks in Japan and abroad will continue to recover moderately, Nissan Diesel expects higher environment-related research and development costs to put a lid on profit growth.

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