Strong global sales drive Nissan quarterly profit higher

TOKYO (AP) " Nissan reported Thursday that its October-December profit rose 3.5 percent from last year as vehicle sales climbed in all major markets.

Nissan Motor Co., based in the Japanese port city of Yokohama, reported a fiscal third quarter profit of 131.7 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 127.2 billion yen the same period a year ago.

Nissan, which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, sold more vehicles in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia for the quarter compared to the previous year.

The company sold 1.09 million vehicles worldwide during the quarter, up from 1.02 million.

Quarterly sales slipped 2.2 percent to 2.94 trillion yen ($26 billion). The automaker kept its annual forecasts unchanged, projecting 525 billion yen ($4.7 billion) profit, up slightly from the previous fiscal year, on 11.8 trillion yen ($105 billion) sales, down 3.2 percent.

"We expect to deliver solid earnings and strong free cash flow generation for fiscal year 2016," said Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn.

Worries have risen lately over whether President Donald Trump may target Japanese automakers over the lopsided auto trade.

Trump has criticized Toyota Motor Corp.'s plan to build a plant in Mexico.

Nissan Corporate Vice President Joji Tagawa said there were no changes so far to Nissan's production plans in North America.

Nissan also stuck to its earlier expectation to sell 5.6 million vehicles for the fiscal year ending March 31, up 3 percent from the previous year.

Nissan, which is allied with Renault SA of France, has become the top shareholder in scandal-plagued Japanese rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which was found cheating on mileage tests to inflate fuel economy figures for its minicar models.

That followed an earlier scandal, over a systematic cover-up of auto defects, which surfaced in the early 2000s but had been going on for decades.

Ghosn said he grabbed at an opportunity to gain scale as Mitsubishi shares nose-dived after the latest scandal surfaced. Bigger manufacturers are better placed to ride out intense competition in the auto industry and Nissan can hope to leverage Mitsubishi's strengths in markets like Southeast Asia.

___

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 30 Mar 2017 15:02:00 Processing Time: 562ms