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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Record profit for carmaker Nissan
Model standing with a Nissan car at the Auto Shanghai 2005 exhibition
Nissan's image has been given a buffing during recent years
Japan's second-biggest carmaker Nissan has reported record annual profits after strong demand for its vehicles in the US drove fourth quarter earnings.

But it warned growth would be slower in the current year as concerns about the economy hit US and Japanese consumers.

Operating profit in the 12 months to the end of March was 861.16bn yen ($8bn; 5.5bn), up 4.4% on the year.

For the January to March period, profits rose 11% to 249bn yen ($2.35bn; 1.23bn) compared with a year ago.

Nissan is 44% owned by French carmaker Renault.

Bumper to bumper

The company, along with other Japanese car companies Toyota and Honda, are taking market share from their European and US rivals.

While the Japanese are reporting rising sales and profits, firms such as General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler are struggling to boost earnings.

"The fundamentals of the business are strong, our products are attractive to customers, and Nissan is poised for sustained, profitable growth," said chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan car driving down street
Keeping Nissan on the road to profit will prove more tricky, analysts say

After taking charge in 1999, Mr Ghosn has overseen a turnaround in Nissan's fortunes and next week will also take over at the helm of France's Renault. Known as 'le cost killer', Mr Ghosn has cut Nissan's overheads by 20% and trimmed its workforce by about 200,000.

Looking ahead

Analysts said that cost cutting will have to continue if the company is to keep growing in a tough and competitive market.

Nissan aims to increase vehicle sales to more than four million by 2008, launching 28 new models in the process.

The company sold a record 3.39 million cars worldwide during the past fiscal year. In the US sales rose by 18.4% - breaking through the one million mark for the first time.

Net income rose 1.7% to 512.3bn yen in the year to March, slightly above Nissan's forecasts.

Revenue rose 15.4% to 8.58 trillion yen.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The facts and figures behind Nissan's profits




SEE ALSO:
Nissan names successor to Ghosn
21 Feb 05 |  Business
US sales bolster Nissan profits
09 Feb 05 |  Business
Nissan sees 12% rise in profits
26 Apr 04 |  Business
Nissan boom boosts Renault profit
10 Feb 04 |  Business
Ghosn tightens Nissan grip
21 Jun 01 |  Business


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