Nissan confident as it returns to profit

NISSAN, Japan’s third-largest automaker, returned to quarterly profit yesterday and lifted its outlook for the second time, as brisk global sales signal the worst may be over for the auto industry.

Nissan joins Toyota and Honda in raising annual forecasts, underscoring the impact of government stimulus and the improvement in the global economy following the worst downturn in decades.

Nissan initially projected a second straight year of losses, but changed its outlook in November as Chinese government incentives helped sales in that fast-growing market.

Continued success in China, the world’s third-largest economy, is vital for the company, some industry analysts say. Nissan’s positive results come as Toyota struggles with the worst recall in its history, involving more than 8m vehicles and tarnishing its reputation for industry-leading quality.

Nissan acknowledged the problems at its bigger rival, with Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga telling a news conference that Nissan would focus more on winning customer trust. He declined to say how much business, if any, Nissan expected to win from the Toyota recall.