China row drags on Nissan sales as it cuts its full-year forecasts

City A.M. Reporter
COUNTING the cost of anti-Japanese protests in a territorial dispute with China, Nissan Motors yesterday cut its full-year net profit forecast by a fifth to $3.99bn, and said it had lost share in its biggest market.

July to September net profit rose 7.7 per cent to ¥106bn, Nissan said, despite lower than expected car sales in the US and Europe. The full impact of the China damage will come through in the current second half.

Demand for Nissan, Honda and Toyota cars in China, the world’s biggest car market, was virtually halved due to the protests in September and October sparked by a row over disputed islets in the East China Sea. Nissan is the most exposed of the three to China, where it has 27 per cent of its vehicle sales.

The company said that over the first half of its financial year, a stronger yen against Russian and Brazilian currencies, and higher selling costs, ate into operating profit.

The company trimmed its 2012 China sales forecast to 1.175m vehicles from a previous 1.35m. Globally, it said it now expects to sell 5.08m vehicles in the year to end-March, down from a previous estimate for 5.35m.

Nissan’s US sales skidded 3.2 per cent in October from a year ago, to 79,685 vehicles.