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Old 07-31-2003, 09:55   #1 (permalink)
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Japan:Mazda Q1 revenue up 10% on brisk European sales

Automotive News
Reuters / July 31, 2003

TOKYO (Reuters) -- Mazda Motor Corp., the smallest of Japan's top five auto makers owned one-third by Ford Motor Co., said on Thursday its first-quarter revenue rose 10 percent from the year earlier thanks to brisk sales in Europe.

Revenues for the April-June quarter totalled 571.94 billion yen ($4.76 billion), as global unit sales grew 10 percent to 245,000 vehicles. The company did not provide other financial figures such as operating and net profits.

Mazda, in the midst of a five-year turnaround plan, is counting on new models such as the Mazda6/Atenza developed under an entirely new product and design strategy to put the company on a firm recovery track.

But its performance has been mixed so far. Demand for the Mazda6 has run far ahead of supply in Europe but sales got off to a slow start in North America.

During the quarter, Mazda's sales in Europe swelled 34 percent to 57,000 vehicles and they grew 2.9 percent in Japan. In contrast, sales in North America fell slightly to 77,000 units.

Mazda, which has a relatively big exposure in Europe, saw its share price surge 37 percent to 292 yen in the April-June quarter, powered by a strong euro and stellar sales in the region. The euro averaged 135 yen during the quarter, or 18 yen stronger than the year-earlier period.

Mazda announced quarterly revenue figure for the first time to meet new Japanese disclosure rules. Company officials have said it plans to bring the reporting period for overseas units in line with the parent's, to April-March from January-December, starting next year.

For the full business year to March 31, Mazda left unchanged its forecast of a 28 percent jump in group operating profit to 65 billion yen, a 24 percent rise in net profit to 30 billion yen and a 2.3 percent rise in sales to 2.42 trillion yen.
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