• Kyodo


Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday it logged a record-high group net profit of ¥452.84 billion for the April to December period as strong sales in North America and Western Europe more than offset weakness in emerging markets and at home.

The figure marked a 33.7 percent rise from a year earlier. Consolidated operating profit increased 40.6 percent to ¥587.54 billion on sales of ¥8.94 trillion, up 10.6 percent.

“Strong sales of our new models, the momentum we have seen in North America and Western Europe and our continued efforts to boost cost efficiency can outweigh sluggish sales in emerging markets and unstable currency moves,” Nissan Corporate Vice President Joji Tagawa told a briefing.

Japan’s second-largest automaker by sales volume kept its earnings forecasts unchanged for fiscal 2015 ending March 31, projecting a net profit of ¥535 billion, up 16.9 percent, and operating profit of ¥730 billion, up 23.8 percent, on sales of ¥12.25 trillion, up 7.7 percent.

Nissan and other major automakers have seen their earnings boosted by strong demand in North America amid cheaper gasoline prices following the plunge in crude oil prices.

For the nine-month period, Nissan sold 3.89 million cars, marking a 1.4 percent rise from a year before. The automaker kept its full-year sales target at 5.5 million units.

Robust demand for the Altima sedan and Rogue sport utility vehicle lifted sales in North America, where Nissan sold 1.49 million cars, up 10.1 percent. Sales in Europe rose 1.1 percent to 540,000 units.

In China, Nissan reflected the results for the January to September period in the latest earnings report, saying it sold 859,000 vehicles, up 1.8 percent.

It showed sluggishness in other emerging markets such as Russia and the Middle East, hit by the lower value of sales due to weakness in their currencies against the U.S. dollar.

Nissan also struggled at home, where the consumption tax hike in 2014 continued to hurt consumer sentiment, with sales dropping 8.2 percent to 383,000 units.

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