• The Associated Press

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Mazda Motor Corp.’s profit shrank sharply in the April-June quarter despite improved sales because of a change in accounting standards, the affiliate of U.S. automaker Ford said Wednesday.

Hiroshima-based Mazda’s profit for the fiscal first quarter totaled 419 million yen, dwindling from 11.6 billion yen from the same quarter a year ago.

The drop came because of a 21.2 billion yen loss the automaker took for adopting a new accounting standard for assets.

Quarterly sales rose 4 percent to 670.8 billion yen from 642.27 billion yen. And operating profit for the quarter was up 14 percent from the previous year.

Mazda kept its profit outlook for the full year ending next March at 55 billion yen, up 20 percent from fiscal 2004, partly because of an extraordinary gain from reimbursement for a government pension fund.

The outlook for sales held steady at 2.8 trillion yen.

“Mazda was again able to improve operating profits year on year in the first quarter, and we are continuing the roll out of new products globally,” said Mazda Chief Financial Officer Gideon Wolthers.

Mazda sales were strong in Japan, Europe and other key markets, including Australia and China, but they declined in the United States, the company said. For all of fiscal 2005, it expects to sell 1.178 million vehicles.

Japanese automakers have generally reported booming sales lately in contrast to the faltering fates of American rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

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