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Automotive News
Reuters / October 17, 2003

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp., the smallest of Japan's top five automakers, will likely report a 70 percent jump in first-half operating profit year-on-year thanks to brisk sales in Europe, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said on Friday.

Mazda, owned one-third by Ford Motor Co., is expected to report about 25 billion yen ($227.6 million) in operating profit for the six months to September, on revenues of 1.22 billion yen, up 5 percent, the paper said.

A Mazda spokesman declined to comment on the report.

European sales appear to have risen 33 percent, the paper said, aided by strong sales of Mazda6/Atenza, a product developed under an entirely new product and design strategy to put the company on a firm recovery track.

Domestic sales seem to have increased 6 percent, although U.S. sales were down 10 percent, the paper said.

Mazda, in the midst of a five-year turnaround plan, said in July revenues rose 10 percent in the April-June quarter, citing strong sales in Europe.

The company is due to reveal its half-year business results on Nov. 6.
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