TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. wants zoom-zoom in its cars but does not expect it in its earnings. At least not yet.
In the midst of a record-setting year, Mazda has set modest three-year financial targets in a new mid-term business plan. It hopes those targets will lay the foundation for faster growth.
Mazda has developed steps to improve its sales performance in North America, including two new SUVs. In the remaining half of this fiscal year, it also will step up marketing programs for its light trucks. But sales in North America will continue to trail those in Europe.
Mazda announced the new targets along with results for the fiscal first half ended Sept. 30 at a press event last week.
In the half, Mazda's operating profit soared 53.1 percent to ¥43.52 billion, or $391.9 million at the Sept. 30 exchange rate.
"Mazda Momentum" is the name of the new mid-term plan, which officially began in April. It thus overlaps Mazda's "Millennium Plan," which ends in March 2005.
Mazda Momentum aims to reach three key goals by March 2007. Compared with the results in the fiscal year ended March 2004, the plan calls for Mazda to:
There are "no eye-catching metrics in the targets we announced today," Mazda CEO Hisakazu Imaki said.
Rather than set aggressive targets, he said Mazda aims for steady progress. Still, he denied that this represents complacency.
"I am far from being satisfied with the current levels" of performance, he said.
To reach those goals, Mazda will launch a total of 16 new models and redesigns of products worldwide through March 31, 2006. That's up from nine in the previous three-year period.
"These will be targeted for segments where we've never made an entry," Imaki said.
The United States will get nine of the 16. One will be the MazdaSpeed6 sedan shown at the Paris auto show. It offers 256 hp compared with 160 hp in the base Mazda6.
Mazda also will debut a redesigned Tribute SUV and two new SUVs designed for the United States.
Many of those models will be on basic architecture developed jointly with Ford Motor Co., which owns 33.4 percent of Mazda.
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