Japanese Nissan posts better profits as chip crunch eases
TOKYO– Nissan reported a 55% jump in profit from October to December on Thursday as the Japanese automaker prepares for a smoother journey with its French alliance partner Renault.
Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co.’s profit for the quarter totaled 50.6 billion yen ($386 million), up from 32.7 billion yen a year earlier.
Quarterly sales jumped 29% to 2.8 trillion yen ($21 billion) as the shortage of computer chips that plagued global automakers gradually eased, according to Nissan.
The crisis was caused by pandemic-related disruptions which also hampered Nissan’s ability to deliver its vehicles to customers.
Some buyers have been waiting a year for their Z sports cars or Ariya sport utility vehicles, Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said.
“We really don’t want our customers to wait that long,” he told reporters.
Rising raw material costs, inflationary pressures and exchange rate volatility have added to the risks for the auto industry, including Nissan.
Nissan, maker of the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, now expects to sell 8% fewer vehicles for the full year to March than expected, to 3.4 million vehicles, due semiconductor supply shortages and the impact of the spread of coronavirus infections in China.
General Manager Makoto Uchida acknowledged that the quarter had been extremely difficult, while expressing his optimism for the future.
“The new models we introduced in each market have been very well received by customers,” he said.
Earlier this week, Nissan, along with Renault and Japan’s smaller automaker Mitsubishi Motors, announced how they were redefining their mutual relationship.
The boards of both companies have approved equalizing each automaker’s stake in the other to 15%, bringing greater balance to the alliance, according to an announcement in London.
Previously, the Renault group, whose largest shareholder is the French state, held 43.4% of Nissan, while Nissan only held 15% of Renault.
Automakers also pledged to cooperate in markets around the world, including India and Latin America, while Nissan said it would invest up to 15% in Ampere, the electric vehicle and software entity. of Renault in Europe.
Nissan is eager to put behind it the 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn, a once-superstar executive who was sent by Renault to save Nissan from bankruptcy in 1999, and managed to turn things around.
Ghosn skipped bail and is now in Lebanon. He says he is innocent of the charges of financial misconduct. The scandal highlighted Nissan’s dissatisfaction with Ghosn’s perks and his power over the company.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama