New vehicles boost Mazda’s bottom line

Mazda Motor Corp.’s introduction of the Mazda2 and Mazda6 to Japan, Europe and other markets contributed to a boost in the Ford-affiliated automaker’s global earnings for the 2007 fiscal year, Mazda said today.

Mazda saw a 2 percent increase in its operating profits of 162.10 billion yen ($1.62 billion). Revenues totaled 3.48 trillion yen ($34.69 billion), up 7 percent from 2006. The company’s net income reached record totals, rising 25 percent to 91.80 billion yen ($916.3 million).

The dollar conversions were dated to the end of the quarter, March 31.

Mazda’s global retail sales volume increased 11 percent, even with production ending in Hainan, China.

Although Mazda expects global retail volume to increase 9 percent in 2008, a dip in earnings this year is projected, CEO Hisakazu Imaki said. The anticipated downturn is mainly a result of the yen’s strength in the market compared with other currencies and to accounting changes between overseas units and the parent company.

“In consideration of the challenging business environment, we have set tighter forecasts for our profit levels in the next period,” Imaki said in a statement. “However, the plan for building the company is on track. We will continue to raise business efficiency, accelerate cost innovation and enhance brand value through new product launches and increased customer satisfaction.”

Mazda projects an operating profit to fall 29 percent to 115.00 billion yen ($1.15 billion) in 2008, along with a shrinking net income of 70.00 billion yen ($700.00 million), a drop to 24 percent. Total revenue is expected to drop 14 percent to 3.00 trillion yen ($30.00 billion).

Ford Motor Co. owns 33.4 percent of Mazda.

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