Mazda lowers sales, earnings forecast
TOKYO - Mazda Motor Corp. trimmed its sales and earnings forecasts for the year ending March 31, citing weaker sales abroad and the stronger yen.
Mazda now predicts its consolidated, or worldwide, net income will total ¥25 billion, or about $228 million at current exchange rates, compared with a forecast of $365 million made in November. It expects group sales of $19.5 billion, down from the prior forecast of $20.4 billion.
Citing lower than expected sales in Europe, Mazda also lowered its forecast for exports to 655,000, off 20,000 from the November forecast.
As the dollar falls and the yen rises, Mazda and other Japanese carmakers book fewer yen in revenues and profits for each dollar or euro received from overseas sales.
James B. Treece
Subaru, L.L. Bean make brand deal
Subaru of America is teaming with L.L. Bean Inc. in a multiyear co-branding deal. Subaru said it beat out bigger car companies for Bean's first automotive licensing partnership.
Subaru becomes the official car of the outdoor clothing and gear retailer and will appear at L.L. Bean stores and in its catalogs. L.L. Bean becomes the official outfitter to Subaru, which will sell its clothing with Subaru branding at auto dealerships. L.L. Bean will participate in Subaru-sponsored events, including the Subaru Gorge Games in July in Hood River, Ore.
'L.L. Bean is a natural partner for Subaru, as both companies provide outdoor enthusiasts with products that enhance their lives,' said Bill Cyphers, vice president of marketing at the auto company. He declined to discuss financial aspects of the deal.
In early fall, Subaru will start selling an L.L. Bean special-edition Outback sport-utility wagon. It will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in April. The 2001 model will have the only six-cylinder engine in Subaru's lineup.
Two Toyota affiliates team
TOKYO - Two vehicle-assembly affiliates of Toyota Motor Corp. agreed late last week to combine their design and development operations.
Under the plan, Kanto Auto Works Ltd. will absorb the design and technology division of Central Motor Co. Both companies do contract assembly for Toyota and have been shouldering more product-development work for the auto giant.
Central Motor, for example, builds the WiLL Vi subcompact for Toyota on the Vitz platform. Designers from Toyota's youth-oriented Virtual Venture Co. worked with Central Motor personnel in the final stages of the WiLL Vi's design to improve the car's design for manufacturing.
James B. Treece