Nissan annual profit soars to $5.1 billion on weak yen, new models

Nissan on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, said its net profit in the year to March soared 17.6 per cent to 457.6 billion yen (S$5.1 billion), crediting a weak yen and new model rollouts for buoyant results that drove past its own earlier forecasts. --
Nissan on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, said its net profit in the year to March soared 17.6 per cent to 457.6 billion yen (S$5.1 billion), crediting a weak yen and new model rollouts for buoyant results that drove past its own earlier forecasts. -- PHOTO :REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Nissan on Wednesday said its net profit in the year to March soared 17.6 per cent to 457.6 billion yen (S$5.1 billion), crediting a weak yen and new model rollouts for buoyant results that drove past its own earlier forecasts.

Japan's number-two automaker had been expecting earnings of 420 billion yen - on sales of 11.38 trillion yen, up 8.5 per cent.

The company projected an even stronger 485.0 billion yen profit this business year.

"Robust demand, especially for new products in North America and Western Europe, along with cost efficiencies and the continued correction in the yen-dollar exchange rate, offset challenging market conditions in Japan and several emerging markets," Nissan said.

A sharp drop in the yen has made Japanese automakers more competitive overseas and inflated the value of repatriated overseas profits, but sales slowed in their home market after a sales tax last year dented consumer spending.

Nissan's results come less than a week after Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said its annual net profit accelerated to a record US$18.1 billion.

But both automakers and domestic rival Honda are grappling with costs tied to the recall of millions of vehicles due to a defect in airbags made by supplier Takata.

On Wednesday before Nissan published its results, the carmaker and Toyota separately announced more airbag-linked recalls, the latest chapter in a crisis linked to at least five deaths.

Nissan said it was calling back 1.56 million vehicles while Toyota recalled five million vehicles globally.

The announcement comes after about 20 million vehicles produced by a string of major automakers were recalled because of the risk that their Takata-made airbags could improperly inflate and rupture, potentially firing deadly shrapnel at the occupants.