Japanese automaker Nissan's profits zoom on strong sales, favorable exchange rates

Nissan has reported that its profit zoomed more than 10-fold in the last quarter from a year before, boosted by a weak Japanese yen and strong vehicle sales around the world

Yuri Kageyama
Thursday 09 November 2023 10:12 GMT
Japan Earns Nissan
Japan Earns Nissan

Nissan’s profit zoomed up more than 10-fold in July-September from a year earlier, boosted by a weak Japanese yen and strong vehicle sales around the world.

The Japanese automaker, allied with Renault SA of France, reported a 190.7 billion yen ($1.3 billion) profit in the last quarter, up from 17.4 billion yen the year before. Quarterly sales surged 25% to 3.15 trillion yen ($20.9 billion), the company said Thursday.

Nissan Motor Co., which makes the Leaf electric car, Infiniti luxury models and Rogue sport-utility vehicle, got a solid boost from the weak yen, as did its Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

The weak yen generally helps the results of Japanese exporters by raising the value of their overseas earnings when they are converted into yen. The U.S. dollar has been trading at about 150 yen lately, up from 130 yen and 140 yen levels last year.

The one regional market where Nissan’s sales struggled was China, where demand for electric vehicles is strong. Japanese automakers have fallen behind in offering battery electric vehicles, or BEVs.

Nissan, based in the port city of Yokohama, raised its profit forecast for the full fiscal year through March 2024 to 390 billion yen ($2.6 billion). That's up from an earlier projection of 340 billion yen ($2.3 billion). It earned nearly 222 billion yen in the previous fiscal year.

Its chief executive, Makoto Uchida, said the company was playing catchup, especially in China, with strong BEV offerings planned for the second half of 2024.

“This puts us on track toward delivering our targets and achieving sustainable growth,” he said.

For the first half, although Nissan’s vehicle sales in China plunged 34% from a year earlier, they grew nearly 11% in Japan, 40% in North America and 19% in Europe.

Nissan kept its sales forecast for the year through March 2024 unchanged at 3.7 million vehicles, up from 3.3 million vehicles sold in the previous fiscal year.

The Japanese-French Nissan-Renault alliance has had its ups and downs. Carlos Ghosn, sent in by Renault to lead a turnaround at Nissan, was a star executive until his arrest in Japan in late 2018 on various financial misconduct charges.

The alliance, which also includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motor Corp., has been eager to put the Ghosn scandal behind it. Ghosn, who now lives in Lebanon after jumping bail in late 2019, says he is innocent. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.

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Yuri Kageyama is on X, formerly Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageya

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