TOKYO -- Isuzu Motors Ltd. said on Thursday its group net loss for last business year would be much smaller than it had expected thanks to better sales in Japan and Southeast Asia.
Isuzu, one of Japan's weakest truck makers, said it now expected a group net loss of 144.30 billion yen ($1.24 billion) for the year ended in March, better than the initial forecast of 170 billion yen.
A year earlier, it posted a loss of 42.99 billion yen.
It raised its revenue forecast by 6.3 percent to 1.349 trillion yen, thanks in part to a surge in sales of full-sized trucks in Japan on replacement demand ahead of the introduction of stricter emissions regulations.
Isuzu's shares have more than doubled this calendar year after ending 2002 at 41 yen. Like Japan's other three major truck makers, Isuzu, owned 12 percent by U.S. car giant General Motors Corp, has been hurt by a sharp drop in domestic demand since the nation's economic bubble burst about a decade ago.
But through a new three-year turnaround plan, the truck maker has been trying to return to the black, mainly through increased revenues and sales of assets.
Isuzu is especially banking on China for a big sales expansion as truck demand is expected to grow along with that country's economy and in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Isuzu is due to announce results for 2002/03 and forecasts for this business year on May 23.