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Nissan expects its profit to triple

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Nissan expects its profit to triple

Japan automaker expects higher demand in U.S., China despite the 'uncertain' market

Makiko Kitamura and Yuki Hagiwara / Bloomberg News

Nissan Motor Co., Japan's third-largest automaker, predicts its profit will more than triple this fiscal year, as auto demand recovers in North America and sales grow in China.

Nissan may boost net income to $1.6 billion for the year ending March 31, from $458.7 million a year earlier, the Yokohama, Japan-based company said Wednesday.

CEO Carlos Ghosn expects Nissan's sales in China to increase 14 percent this fiscal year, while North American deliveries may increase 13 percent to 1.2 million as the world's second-largest auto market recovers from a recession. The carmaker follows Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in forecasting higher profit.

"The full-year profit plan seems a bit conservative," said Yoshihiro Okumura, who helps oversee the equivalent of $365 million at Chiba-gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. "I expected to see a net income estimate of about 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion)."

The maker of Versa and Altima cars increased U.S. sales 35 percent in April to 63,769 vehicles as the nation's industrywide auto demand rose for a sixth month, according to Autodata Corp. U.S. vehicle demand may total 12 million this year, Ghosn said..

Nissan narrowed its fourth-quarter loss to $125.5 million in the three months ended March 31, from $3 billion a year earlier, the company said, as cost cuts and rising sales offset a stronger yen.

The carmaker's U.S. sales surged 31 percent in the quarter, resulting in a record market share of 9 percent, the company said. In 2009, Nissan's U.S. market share was 7.6 percent.

Nissan boosted vehicle sales in China, the world's largest automobile market, 68 percent to 243,000 vehicles in the three months ended March and plans to start selling a compact there in the second half of this year.

The company aims to raise production capacity in China by almost 70 percent, to 900,000 units a year by 2012.

"Although we continue to operate in an environment that is volatile and uncertain, fiscal year 2010 will be an important year in which we launch an affordable, mass market, all-electric, zero-emission vehicle (the Leaf), extend our presence in emerging markets and develop additional synergies in the Renault-Nissan alliance," Ghosn said.

Nissan posted a profit of $459 million in the year ended March 31, compared with a loss of $2.5 billion a year earlier as sales rebounded in the United States and Japan.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100513/AUTO01/5130377/1148/auto01/Nissan-expects-its-profit-to-triple#ixzz0noUr7CDZ

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