Strong Sales, Weak Yen Drive Up Nissan Earnings

China, Japan see strong surge in demand.

by on Feb.10, 2014

Strong demand for the Altima boosted U.S. sales.

Surging global sales, along with a weak Japanese yen, helped Nissan Motor Co. deliver a 57% increase in profits for the final quarter of 2013.

The second-largest Japanese maker earned 84.3 billion yen, or $823 million, for the October-December quarter, up from 53.8 billion yen the year before – but a fraction of the 525.4 billion yen, or $5.2 billion, in earnings announced by the industry giant Toyota Motor Co. last weak.

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Both makers, along with Japan’s third-largest automotive manufacturer Honda, have benefited significantly from last year’s plunge in the yen which averaged around 80 to the U.S. dollar during the final months of 2013, down from around 100 a year before.

Nissan had strong sales in the home Japanese market during the most recent quarter – the third in its fiscal year – sales climbing 16%, to 151,000 vehicles.  The Japanese market has been booming in recent months as consumers race to buy cars and other goods before a sharp increase in the national consumption tax scheduled to go into effect on April 1.

(Toyota earnings up 500%, half the gain coming from a weak yen. Click Here for the full story.)

The weak yen helped boost the value of overseas earnings, meanwhile, and that was a definite for Nissan as it finally regained momentum in the Chinese market after a surge of anti-Japanese sentiment triggered by a 2012 dispute between the two countries over ownership of a chain of uninhabited islands.

Nissan’s sales in China surged by 94% during the October-December quarter, to 381,000 vehicles.

The Japanese maker also reported a 12% increase in demand in the U.S. market, with particularly strong sales of the Altima sedan and Pathfinder SUV.

“Sales in Japan and North America helped offset emerging market volatility and sluggish conditions in Europe,” said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn in comments accompanying the earnings announcement.

(U.S., Japanese execs square off over impact of lopsided exchange rates. Click Herefor more.)

But Nissan’s performance in the U.S. was a mixed bag, and the surge in sales couldn’t offset an 87% drop in operating income in the market – to 3.4 billion yen – due to increased competition.

Worldwide, Nissan’s sales for the latest quarter rose 25%, to 2.5 trillion yen.

Nissan is forecasting that the company will finish the current fiscal year with sales of 5.2 million vehicles and total earnings of 355 billion yen.

(Honda earnings double during latest quarter. Click Here for more.)

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