Nissan reports 38 per cent rise in profit on healthy China, US, Europe sales; raises forecasts

TOKYO – Nissan’s profit for the July-September quarter zoomed 38 per cent higher on healthy sales in China, the U.S. and Europe, prompting the automaker to raise its full-year projections.

Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan Motor Co. reported Monday a fiscal second quarter profit of 172.8 billion yen ($1.4 billion), up from 124.9 billion yen the year before.

Quarterly sales at the automaker allied with Renault SA of France rose 13 per cent to 3.034 trillion yen ($25.2 billion).

Nissan now expects a 535 billion yen ($4.4 billion) profit for the full year through March 2016, which would be an increase of nearly 17 per cent from the previous year.

It credited strong sales, cost cuts and a favourable exchange rate. The maker of the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models had earlier expected a 485 billion yen ($4 billion) profit for the fiscal year.

“We are increasing our financial forecast for the full year as our product offensive, our continued financial discipline and the ongoing benefits of our alliance strategy is delivering better-than-expected results,” said Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, who also heads Renault.

Ghosn said the strong overseas markets compensated for sales losses in Japan, which has been stagnating for years.

Nissan has recently shown its advances in developing the self-driving car. It’s also a world leader in electric vehicles, with cumulative global sales of 200,000 for its Leaf electric car. The self-driving technology, still in its experimental stages and not yet for commercial use, is being packed in the Leaf as well.

Such cutting-edge technology doesn’t contribute much to vehicle sales in its early phases but is a boon to Nissan’s image.

Among the hit models Nissan has had in recent months are the Altima sedan and Rogue sport-utility vehicle in North America, and the X-trail and Qashqai SUV models in Europe.

Nissan expects to sell 5.5 million vehicles for the fiscal year, up 3.4 per cent from the previous year.

Japanese automakers are all getting a perk from the weak yen, which helps boost the value of their overseas earnings.

Honda Motor Co. is scheduled to release its earnings Wednesday. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s No. 1 automaker, reports Thursday.

For the first fiscal half, Nissan reported a 37 per cent jump in profit to 325.6 billion yen ($2.7 billion), as sales climbed 15 per cent to 5.933 trillion yen ($49.3 billion).


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