Improved sales in US and China lift Nissan

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Nissan’s operating profit rose a higher-than-expected 13.4 per cent in the April-June quarter on improved sales in the United States and China, its two largest markets, following a change in senior management overseeing US operations.

Nissan said yesterday its first-quarter operating profit was 122.6 billion yen (£708m), exceeding the 109.1 billion yen mean estimate.

It stuck with an annual operating profit forecast of 535 billion yen for the financial year ending in March 2015.

Jose Munoz took over the company’s struggling North American operations in January as it aims to boost its US market share to 10 per cent from the current 8.6 per cent.

Nissan’s April-June vehicle sales grew 14.1 per cent in the United States to around 350,000 vehicles in the quarter, while globally they rose 6 per cent to 1.24 million.

Nissan’s average incentive offering per vehicle was $2,323 for April-June, according to data from TrueCar, the highest among Japanese carmakers, although it has been declining over the past few months.

“Nissan is well placed to deliver on its outlook given our continued offensive along with measures to enhance competitiveness, build market share and the ongoing benefits of our alliance strategy,” Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said.

Last financial year, Nissan posted a 4.8 per cent operating profit margin, the worst among its Japanese peers.