The recovery of the auto manufacturers in Japan has been nothing short of remarkable, considering last year's earthquake and ensuing tsunami. One shining example is Nissan, whose profits leapt 150% from 30.8bn yen to 75.3bn yean (£585m) for the first quarter, ending March 31. This may not sound impressive given that the Japanese economy has been depressed for many years, and car manufacturers were doing next to nothing in the aftermath of the tsunami. But the leap constitutes record sales for the firm with global sales totalling 4.8 million units in the 2011 financial year.
The company was also afflicted by the earthquake and flooding in Thailand, which disrupted the manufacturing supply chain. But sales have not been a victim of circumstance, an impressive feat given that global trading conditions are already fragile, especially for expensive purchases such as cars. Its global sales grew 16% to 4.8 million vehicles in the year to the end of March, beating hands-down the industry average rise of 4.2%.
Nissan’s prospects look equally Sunny, but it also has a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Its financial statement projects a 28% rise in profits for the coming 12 months, backed up by the upcoming launch of 10 new models around the world. One of these models, a new hatchback, will be produced at the UK’s Sunderland Nissan production plant from 2014, creating 225 jobs at the factory and 900 in the supply chain.
CEO Carlos Ghosn is confident. In the financial statement, he said: ‘Our financial performance, product launches and market penetration over the past 12 months demonstrate our progress towards sustainable operating margins of 8% and 8% global market share.’
All that is assuming that the financial world isn’t about to come crashing down again. The European market certainly faces uncertainty while Greece remains leaderless after its election…