Mazda losses soar in North America
Quake, strong yen lead to global operating loss in qtr.
TOKYO -- Bigger North American operating losses at Mazda Motor Corp. further darkened April-June financial results hit hard by Japan's earthquake and the yen's appreciation.
Losses in Mazda's biggest market ballooned to ¥7.9 billion, or about $97.6 million, far worse than the operating loss of $33.3 million a year earlier, Mazda said last week.
The yen's steady climb against the dollar was key in undercutting earnings from the United States, where imports account for about 86 percent of the Japanese automaker's sales.
But crippled production in Japan also meant fewer cars for the sales pipeline. North American sales slid 4 percent to 86,000 units in the three months ended June 30. Despite the retreat in North America, Mazda still predicted its North American sales would grow 1 percent to 346,000 units in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. The company aims to operate its plants at more than full capacity by the January-March period to recoup lost output.
The yen-quake double whammy helped flip Mazda to a global operating loss in the latest period, the company's fiscal first quarter, from a profit the year before.
On a worldwide basis, Mazda reported an operating loss of $285.3 million, compared with an operating profit of $79.0 million in the same period of last year. Revenue declined 30 percent to $5.04 billion.
Global sales slid 11.3 percent to 281,000 units in the period as Mazda's factories struggled to come back online after the March 11 earthquake.
CFO Kiyoshi Ozaki said Mazda was still talking with Ford Motor Co. about the fate of their joint auto assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich. Mazda has said it will stop making the Mazda6 sedan there at the end of the current model cycle, leaving the plant without a Mazda nameplate.
Asked whether pulling out of the joint venture was an option, Ozaki said Mazda is examining "all options."
He declined to say when a decision might be reached.
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