Nissan's profit stumbles on China sales decline

TOKYO — Nissan’s profit sank in October-December to about half of what it earned the year before, the automaker said Thursday, though it stuck to its earlier earnings forecasts.

Nissan Motor Co., based in the port city of Yokohama, reported its profit was 29 billion yen ($195 million) in the last quarter, down from 50.6 billion yen a year earlier.

Quarterly sales jumped nearly 10% to 3.1 trillion yen ($21 billion) for the maker of the Leaf electric car, Infiniti luxury models and Z sportscars.

Market conditions were especially difficult in China, Stephen Ma, Nissan’s chief financial officer, told reporters. The Chinese auto market remains intensely competitive amid a price war between manufacturers, dominated by locals like BYD, with its strong EV offerings.

Nissan’s vehicle sales in China plunged 35% in April-December from the previous year. Nissan sales rose about 30% in the U.S. from a year earlier, helping to offset the China woes.

For the first nine months of the fiscal year that ends in March, Nissan’s global sales rose 22% to 9.17 trillion yen ($61.7 billion).

Nissan kept unchanged its annual projection for a 390 billion yen ($2.6 billion) profit on 13 trillion yen ($87 billion) in sales.

Nissan expects to sell 3.55 million vehicles globally for the year through March, down from an earlier projection of 3.7 million vehicles. That’s still better than the 3.3 million vehicles Nissan sold the year before.

By region, Nissan expects vehicle sales to grow in the U.S., Japan and Europe, but not in China.

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