Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday it has revised upward its group earnings forecast for the first half that ended Sept. 30 and for the full year to March 31, mainly because of a weaker yen.

Mazda said it now expects a midterm consolidated net profit of 5.5 billion yen, up 175 percent from the 2 billion yen projected in May, due to the weaker yen and larger-than-expected reductions in material costs, fixed costs and other areas.

The company also revised its group pretax profit projection to 9.1 billion yen, up 203.3 percent from the earlier expected 3 billion yen, and its sales to 1.16 trillion yen, up 2.6 percent from 1.13 trillion yen.

Mazda said the success of the Atenza car and new Demio compact partly offset falls in sales of the Premacy minivan and the Familia car.

Mazda said it will announce its interim group earnings report on Nov. 12.

For the full year, Mazda now expects a group net profit of 26.5 billion yen, up 32.5 percent from the earlier estimated 20 billion yen on sales of 2.34 trillion yen, up 4 percent from 2.25 trillion yen, due mainly to cost-cutting efforts, the weaker yen and restructuring of its domestic dealer network planned in the second half of the current fiscal year.

But it revised its group pretax profit outlook downward by 2.7 percent to 36 billion yen from the previously projected 37 billion yen, due partly to larger-than-expected sales promotion costs in the United States.

Dealer consolidation

Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday it plans to consolidate its 34 dealers across Japan into 11 regional dealerships by the end of the 2002 business year.

The move constitutes a bid to strengthen the dealerships’ management and stabilize their financial base.

“With the all-new Mazda Atenza and Mazda Demio now on the market, this action will strengthen the operations of our consolidated domestic dealers and help stabilize their financial base,” Mazda President Lewis Booth said in a news release.

In line with this consolidation drive, Mazda said it will eventually convert up to 133 billion yen in subordinated debt to equity to ensure a more stable financial environment for the company’s dealers.

Mazda has 34 dealers in 11 regions across Japan, from Kyushu to the Tohoku region.

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