Nissan lifts forecast thanks to sales hike

City A.M. Reporter
Nissan Motor lifted its annual guidance and posted a doubling in quarterly operating profit as the popularity of new cars such as the March/Micra subcompact helped offset currency losses.

Nissan, owned 43 per cent by France’s Renault, is on its way to outselling Honda to become Japan’s second-biggest automaker this year as its market share inches up in China, North America and Europe.

Nissan also has strong momentum in the coming months with inventory levels on the low side as the pace of production trailed delivery to customers, analysts said.

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn is looking to boost Nissan’s global market share by beating rivals' growth in emerging markets such as China as well as mature markets in Europe. Fuelled by strong sales, Nissan raised its global sales forecast to 4.1m vehicles from 3.8m for the year to March 2011.

Further out, Ghosn, the dual chief executive officer of Nissan and Renault, is aiming to turn the alliance into the industry leader in zero-emission vehicles, taking a significant first step by delivering the first Nissan Leaf electric car to customers in Japan and the US next month.

Nissan now expects operating profit for the year to 31 March 2011 of 485bn yen (£3.7bn) instead of 350bn yen. The new figure would represent a 56 per cent rise from the previous year. Nissan sees annual net profit at 270bn yen instead of 150bn yen.

For the three-moth period of July to September, Nissan reported an operating profit of 166.96bn yen, up from 83.28bn yen a year ago and beating the average 151bn yen estimated by three analysts.

Second-quarter net profit was 101.73bn yen, quadrupling from 25.53bn yen a year earlier.