Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday it posted a record operating profit of 871.84 billion yen, up 1.2 percent from the previous year, in fiscal 2005 due to brisk global sales.
The second-largest domestic carmaker also announced it will invest $200 million to build an assembly plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, that is expected to begin production in 2009.
Nissan will be the second Japanese carmaker to build an assembly factory in Russia. Toyota Motor Corp. has already begun construction in St. Petersburg, where a number of other automakers, including Ford Motor Co., operate plants.
Nissan posted a net profit of 518.05 billion yen, a 1.1 percent increase, on sales of 9.43 trillion yen, up 9.9 percent. The carmaker’s pretax profit decreased by 1.1 percent to 845.87 billion yen.
Despite the record figures, Nissan President Carlos Ghosn appeared unsatisfied with the slowed growth. In fiscal 2004, Nissan’s pretax profit increased by 5.7 percent to 855.7 billion yen.
“It was a year of head winds and turbulence as the costs of energy, raw materials, regulations and interest rates increased significantly,” Ghosn told a news conference. “This has negatively impacted the increase in our profitability and slowed our growth in a low year of our product cycle.”
Ghosn said the company had predicted slow growth in the previous fiscal year as it only released seven new models. It will release nine models this fiscal year.
As with the other major carmakers, Nissan’s global sales hit a record in the last business year. The firm sold 3.57 million units, up 5.3 percent.
Sales in the U.S. rose 6.1 percent to 1.08 million units, contributing to the record sales figure. Sales in Japan came to 842,000 units, down 0.7 percent, and 541,000 units were sold in Europe, down 0.7 percent.