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Despite a stagnant domestic economy, the nation’s major automakers managed to boost consolidated profits for the April-September period, thanks to a weaker yen and cost-cutting efforts, according to earnings reports released by Tuesday.

Nissan Motor Co. said consolidated net profit jumped 24.9 percent to 287.71 billion yen, a record net profit for the April-September period, on the back of brisk auto sales both at home and abroad.

Its consolidated pretax profit doubled from the same period last year to 323.5 billion yen, and consolidated operating profit surged 84.5 percent to 348.3 billion yen, the nation’s No. 3 carmaker said.

Group revenue rose 10.3 percent to 3.29 trillion yen.

As Nissan made steady progress in improving performance, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 carmakers in terms of group sales, reported record consolidated profits and group sales in the first half of fiscal 2002.

Toyota’s consolidated net profit surged 90.2 percent over the same period a year earlier to 553.8 billion yen and its worldwide sales rose 15.4 percent to 7.89 trillion yen.

Honda reported a consolidated net profit of 194.78 billion yen, up 12.1 percent, and group sales of 3.85 trillion yen, up 9.9 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp., the country’s No. 4 and No. 5 carmakers, improved profitability as well. MMC’s consolidated net profits reached 6.64 billion yen although it incurred a consolidated net loss of 31.5 billion yen a year earlier. Its group sales rose 5.6 percent to 1.62 trillion yen.

Mazda’s consolidated net profits jumped fourfold to 5.58 billion yen and group sales came to 1.16 trillion yen, up 11.7 percent.

The five carmakers saw sales increase in overseas markets, while all but Mazda increased sales volume in North America. Mazda did see sales increase in Europe.

In Japan, where consumer spending is weak amid the protracted economic slump, Toyota, MMC and Mazda saw sales volume fall between 3 percent and 10 percent.

Nissan, however, said its domestic sales rose by 12.1 percent to 383,000 units, thanks to popular models such as the remodeled March compact and Moco minicar.

Honda’s domestic sales increased 1.2 percent to 426,000 units, due to the continuing popularity of the Fit compact.

The five carmakers, however, predict tougher times ahead as the U.S. automotive market slows and the domestic economy stays sluggish.

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