Nissan profit tumbles on China, Europe woes
By Shingo Ito AFPTOKYO -- Nissan's heavy exposure to China and recession-hit Europe took a bite out its earnings with the Japanese automaker saying Friday its net profit in the three months to December plunged 34.6 percent.
February 9, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
But a weakening yen, cost cutting and a planned slate of new models helped the company, part-owned by France's Renault, keep its full-year forecast unchanged.
Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn criticized his company's quarterly results, saying they fell below expectations as the automaker also reported that nine-month profit was down about 12 percent year on year.
The firm's global vehicle sales slipped 3.8 percent in the quarter to 1.16 million units, hit by slumping demand in Europe and tough conditions in China, the world's biggest vehicle market.
“Nissan's performance in the third quarter did not meet our expectations,” Ghosn said in a statement.
“This was primarily the result of difficult operating conditions in Europe for the entire auto industry, in China for Japanese automakers, and in the U.S. for Nissan.”
Japan's second-biggest automaker is the most exposed to the China market among its top domestic rivals Toyota and Honda, with its quarterly unit sales in China down 15.6 percent.
Nissan's rivals reported improved earnings last week, although they have also been hurt by a Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic spat.
The long-standing row flared in September when Tokyo nationalized some of a tiny East China Sea archipelago that is also claimed by Beijing, setting off huge demonstrations across China and a consumer boycott of Japanese brands.
Japanese factories and businesses across China temporarily closed or scaled back operations over fears of being targeted by angry mobs.
Ghosn had previously warned that Nissan would think twice about making new investments in the country because of the row. It has several production plants in China with a new factory in the northeastern city of Dalian planned for 2014.