TOKYO - Yanase & Co., the importer and distributor of Mercedes, Opel, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Saab cars in Japan, swung into the red for the first time in three years in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
A weak car market in general and slumping imports in particular hurt Yanase. But a five-month delay in the debut of the Opel Astra, which led to a 29 percent drop in Astra sales for the year, hit especially hard.
There is little sign that Japan's economy will improve in the coming year. Even so, Yanase predicted that its sales will rebound in the current fiscal year because of a backlog of orders for the Mercedes A class, M class and S class.
In the year just ended, Yanase posted an operating loss of ¥1.3 billion, or about $10.8 million at current exchange rates, against an operating profit of $17.5 million a year earlier.
Revenue declined 6 percent to $3.35 billion as unit sales slumped 11 percent to 67,455. Nonetheless, Yanase's share of Japan's import market rose to 24.1 percent from 20.9 percent a year earlier as total import sales dropped 22.9 percent to 280,264.
In the current fiscal year, Yanase forecast its unit sales will rise 22.2 percent to 82,400.
It said Mercedes sales will rise 28.8 percent to 37,400; Opel, 14.7 percent to 29,840; Chevrolet, 17.8 percent to 7,000; Cadillac, 13.9 percent to 3,800; and Saab, 57.8 percent to 3,500.
But it expects sales of AMG-tuned Mercedes cars to slip 4.8 percent to 860.