YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Rebounding used-car prices fueled an almost fivefold increase in operating profit at Nissan Motor Co.'s North American operations and helped lift the carmaker's overall outlook.
Nissan's business in North America reported operating income of ¥90.6 billion ($1.01 billion) for the fiscal first half, which ended Sept. 30. That was the biggest profit of any region and was up from $221.2 million a year earlier, Nissan said last week.
The improvement came mainly because Nissan gained $816.0 million when strong used-vehicle prices meant the automaker did not have to book provisions for residual losses on leased vehicles.
Combined with cost cuts and a booming Chinese market, those savings led Nissan to revise its global full-year outlook to an operating profit from a loss. "We didn't think the prices of secondhand cars would improve so much," COO Toshiyuki Shiga said.
Nissan now expects a global operating profit of $1.33 billion for the fiscal year, which ends March 31. That compares with earlier expectations for a $1.11 billion operating loss.
Nissan also cut its forecast net loss for the fiscal year to $444.5 million, from May's outlook for a $1.89 billion loss.
For the fiscal first half, Nissan's global operating profit declined 51 percent to $1.05 billion, from $2.13 billion a year earlier. Net income plunged 93 percent to $10.0 million. Revenue fell 31 percent to $37.6 billion.
Shiga credited cash-for-clunker incentives for boosting U.S. demand. Nissan had predicted that total U.S. light-vehicle sales would slump to an annualized rate of 9.5 million in the fiscal first half, but the actual figure was 10.5 million.