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FILE - In this Monday, May 12, 2014 file photo, People walk past a wall set up in front of Nissan's showroom under renovation in Tokyo. Healthy sales and a favorable exchange rate pushed up Nissan's fiscal first quarter profit nearly 37 percent, as vehicle sales grew in North America, China and other overseas markets. Nissan Motor Co. reported a better-than-expected income of 112 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for April-June, up from 82 billion yen a year earlier. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
Nissan profit rises on strong sales, cheap yen
Earnings » Healthy sales in North America, China boosts Nissan’s quarterly profit 37%.
First Published Jul 28 2014 10:15 am • Last Updated Jul 28 2014 10:15 am

Tokyo • Nissan’s quarterly profit rose nearly 37 percent, helped by a favorable exchange rate and healthy sales in North America and China.

Nissan Motor Co. reported Monday a better-than-expected net profit of $1.1 billion for the April-June first fiscal quarter, up from $1 billion yen a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast a quarterly profit of $835 million. Quarterly sales jumped 10 percent to $24.2 billion)

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Nissan’s vehicle sales grew in the robust North American market, on solid demand for the Rogue crossover and the Altima sedan, offsetting shaky Japan, where a rise in the consumption tax dampened sales overall.

"Nissan continued to make progress in the first three months of the fiscal year as encouraging demand for new products, benefits from recent plant investments, and improving market conditions in North America, China and Europe combined to lift both revenues and profits," said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer.

Yokohama-based Nissan kept its full year forecasts unchanged at a $4 billion net income and $106 billion sales. The profit figure would represent a 4 percent increase from the previous year and the sales figure a 3 percent increase.

Nissan sold 1.24 million vehicles globally during the first quarter, a 6 percent rise from the previous year.

Nissan has stepped up its global expansion, opening new plants in Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand and other emerging markets where it sees strong growth.

But Nissan, which makes the Infiniti luxury model, March subcompact and Leaf electric car, is also doing will in the U.S., a developed market.

Its U.S. sales volume grew 14 percent from the previous year, and Nissan’s market share in the U.S. edged up by 0.5 points to 7.9 percent.

Nissan is also holding up in Europe, boosting vehicle sales in Russia by 31 percent.

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The automaker sold fewer vehicles in Japan, where demand waned following an April 1 sales tax hike. Its market share increased by 0.1 point to 11.5 percent.

The cheap yen continued to boost Nissan’s earnings. Japanese exporters get a perk because it lifts the value of overseas earnings. Nissan said the company gained several billion yen in operating profit from the currency rate but declined to give a specific number.

Nissan said its green image was enhanced by the accolades for its zero-emission Leaf electric vehicle.

Nissan has now sold 124,000 Leaf vehicles, still a niche market but significant as a plus for its image because of the concerns about global warming and the environment, according to the automaker.

Nissan boasts one of the most successful alliances in the auto industry with Renault SA, and sharing common basic parts on which the products are manufactured has been a key part of its strategy, helping slash costs.

Honda Motor Co. reports earnings Tuesday. Toyota Motor Corp. reports Aug. 5.

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