Subaru parent raises full-year profit forecast on U.S. sales gains
TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subaru cars, raised its full-year net income forecast by 40 percent as U.S. demand offset declining sales in China.
The company raised its net income forecast for the year ending March to 67 billion yen ($844 million) and the projection beat the 56.9 billion yen average of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company also increased its operating income forecast 22 percent to 82 billion yen.
Deliveries of Subaru cars in the U.S., where Fuji Heavy sells almost half its vehicles, rose 29 percent in the April-to- September period on demand for its Impreza hatchback. That helped cushion the 48 percent September sales drop in China, where anti-Japanese protests flared over the territorial dispute between the Asia's two biggest economies.
Subaru sales in the U.S. for the year through September rose 26 percent to 245,463 vehicles. The market as a whole gained 15 percent.
Fuji Heavy's lack of a manufacturing facility in China makes the company less vulnerable than other Japanese carmakers to the current aversion toward Japanese brands, Koichi Sugimoto, an analyst with BNP Paribas SA, wrote in a report last week.
The carmaker is counting on the new Forester sport utility vehicle, scheduled for launch by the end of the year, to build on the sales boost provided by the company's BRZ sportscar and Impreza XV crossover.
Fuji Heavy, which uses about a third of its U.S. manufacturing capacity for producing Toyota's Camry, is considering boosting capacity in the U.S. to meet rising demand, the company has said.
The company also has said it will increase production at its main domestic plant in Gunma Prefecture by 20 percent to 180,000 units by the summer of 2013. The company's domestic passenger car sales rose 30 percent to 47,528 from April to September, led by the Legacy and Impreza models and thanks to government fuel-efficient car subsidies.
The company trimmed its revenue forecast 1.1 percent to 1.84 trillion yen.Contact Automotive News