Nissan posts 6% rise in Q3 profit, missing estimates

TOKYO, (Reuters) – Japan’s Nissan Motor posted a lower-than-expected 6.4% rise in operating profit in the December quarter on Thursday, saying it will maintain its annual outlook as a more profitable product mix offset a lower full-year vehicle sales forecast.

Operating profit totalled 141.6 billion yen ($951.80 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, compared with the average estimate of 179.8 billion yen in a poll of nine analysts by LSEG.

The automaker maintained its operating profit forecast of 620 billion yen for the current financial year.

It revised its retail sales outlook for the current financial year down to 3.55 million vehicles from 3.7 million it had expected previously, due to lower forecasted sales across markets.

“We are managing our business with discipline,” Nissan CFO Stephen Ma told a press briefing.

The lower sales forecasts reflected challenges such as intensifying competition and logistics issues around the company’s key markets, including China, Ma added.

Nissan’s global sales grew 4.6% to some 3.3 million vehicles in 2023, it said last month, as a stronger performance in North America and Europe offset falling demand for its cars in the world’s top auto market China amid fierce competition from Chinese brands.

China sales slumped 16% in 2023 to less than 800,000 vehicles, a trend that helped the United States become the automaker’s most important market with its sales there rising 23% to almost 900,000 vehicles last year.

Nissan has previously committed to invest up to 600 million euros ($646.80 million) in Ampere, the electric vehicle business of its long-standing alliance partner Renault.

The French automaker’s decision to cancel the stock market flotation of Ampere would not delay investments into the unit from Nissan, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said last week.

($1 = 0.9276 euros)

($1 = 148.7700 yen)

Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Jacqueline Wong