Nissan's quarterly profit rises on cheap yen, healthy US sales; projects annual profit rise

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TOKYO — Nissan's profit for the January-March quarter inched up 3.3 percent, helped by healthy vehicle sales in North America, a favorable exchange rate and cost cuts.

Nissan Motor Co. reported Wednesday a quarterly profit of 118.8 billion yen ($992 million), up from 114.9 billion yen the previous year. Quarterly sales edged up 2.6 percent to 3.29 trillion yen ($275 billion).

The maker of the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models is projecting more growth for the fiscal year ahead, ending March 2016, at 485 billion yen ($4 billion) profit.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, the Yokohama-based manufacturer recorded a 457.6 billion yen ($3.8 billion) profit, up nearly 18 percent.

Japanese automakers such as Nissan have benefited from the recent fall of the yen which boosts the value of overseas revenue.

For the fiscal year through March, Nissan's operating profit benefited from nearly 69 billion yen ($576 million) in foreign exchange gains.

Although vehicle sales were down in Japan, a stagnant market, Nissan sold more vehicles in almost all other major markets, including North America, Europe and China.

It especially made gains in the U.S., where it gained 0.2 percentage points in market share to 8.4 percent from 8.2 percent, on the popularity of its Altima sedan and Rogue crossover.

"We have been encouraged by demand for our new products," said Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn.

He gave credit to cost cuts and synergy with alliance partner, Renault SA of France, for the positive results.

Nissan expects to sell 5.55 million vehicles for the fiscal year through March 2016, up 4.4 percent year-on-year.

It also forecast annual sales of 12.1 trillion yen ($101 billion). That is up from 11.38 trillion yen ($95 billion) for the fiscal year just ended, which was an 8.5 percent improvement from the previous year.


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