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Mazda forecasts 10 percent sales drop


Mazda says its consolidated sales revenue fell 17 percent in the first nine months of fiscal year 2008 compared with the same period a year before

And it’s forecasting a 10 percent drop in worldwide sales as the recession hammers the car market.

In figures released today, Mazda said operating profit fell 66 percent, reflecting the yen’s appreciation against key currencies and a sharp deterioration in global sales.

Ordinary profit decreased 42 percent year-on-year to 52.1 billion yen, reflecting forward exchange contract gains.

Consolidated net income was 28.9 billion yen, down 36 percent.

Mazda sold 964,000 vehicles globally in the first nine months of FY2008, a one percent drop it attributed to “a sharp slowdown in sales which began in the third quarter.”

Things weren’t all grim. In Europe, Mazda sales rose six percent, to 242,000; in China they rose 38 percent, to 97,000, thanks to a sales boost following the introduction of the new Mazda2 and a strong contribution from the Mazda6.

But in Japan, Mazda sold six percent fewer cars (164,000) despite the newly-launched Biante and Atenza (Mazda6) models’ positive effect on sales.

North American sales of 271,000 (186,000 of them in the US) through the third quarter were down 10 percent.

 In other markets, combined total sales dropped five percent, to 190,000.

Mazda has revised its full year projections downward, reflecting the sharp deterioration in global sales since October, and the expected impact of a further appreciation of the yen against key currencies.

Sales revenue is projected to show a 27 percent decline, and Mazda expects to post an operating loss of 25 billion yen.

But ordinary profit is forecast to be limited to a loss of 15 billion yen mainly due to exchange hedging.

 Mazda has cut its full year global retail sales forecast to 1.24 million, down 123,000 on FY2007. “This mainly reflects the sharp decline in sales in Europe and in other markets, where strong sales were achieved in the first half of the fiscal year,” it said in a statement.

“We now project year-on-year sales declines in all markets except China.”

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