TOKYO - Yanase & Co., Japan's largest importer and distributor of foreign cars, swung into the black in the 12 months to Sept. 30 as revenue soared more than tenfold.
Yanase's improvement came on strong sales of high-margin Mercedes cars. Except for Saab, however, the company's sales of General Motors brands fell.
Yanase posted an operating profit of 700 million, or about $6.5 million at current exchange rates, compared to a loss of $13.1 million a year earlier. Revenue surged to $4.1 billion from $320.7 million a year earlier. The privately held company did not disclose more detailed results.
Revenue mainly rose on a 36 percent jump in sales of Mercedes-Benz cars to 39,479, led by the S class and A class. Saab unit sales also rose 11.7 percent to 2,477.
However, sales of Opel cars fell 23.7 percent to 19,851; Cadillac sales slid 22.2 percent to 2,596; and Chevrolet sales fell 18 percent to 4,873. AMG sales dropped 24.8 percent to 769.
Yanase's combined unit sales rose 3.8 percent to 70,045, giving it 29 percent of Japan's total imported-car market, up from 26.6 percent a year earlier.
For the 12 months ending September 2000, Yanase expects Mercedes sales to drop 9.6 percent to 35,671 units. But it forecasts a turnaround for its GM brands and for AMG.
Yanase said it expects to sell 22,971 Opels, up 15.7 percent; 5,434 Chevrolets, up 11.5 percent; 3,108 Saabs, up 25.5 percent; 2,852 Cadillacs, up 9.9 percent; and 835 AMGs, up 8.6 percent.