Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:09 UK

Downturn pushes Nissan into loss

Nissan car
Nissan expects car sales to fall further in the next year

Japanese carmaker Nissan has reported a net loss for the past year, but the results were better than expected.

Nissan reported a net loss of 233.7bn yen ($2.3bn; £1.59bn) for the year to 31 March, but it had previously forecast the loss would be 256bn yen.

Sales of Nissan vehicles fell 9.5% to 3.4 million, with the biggest decline seen in the US market.

Carmakers around the world have been affected by the economic downturn and Nissan said it remained cautious.

'Challenging year'

Nissan - which is 44%-owned by Renault - added that it expected to make a net loss of 170bn yen in the next financial year, and to see a further reduction in its global sales to about 3.1 million vehicles.

"The global recession and financial crisis continue, but we are beginning to see some signs of improved access to credit, the impact of government stimulus packages and a gradual return in consumer confidence," chief executive Carlos Ghosn said.

"2009 will be another challenging year. Our priorities will be preserving cash, improving our profitability and pursuing deeper synergies within the Renault-Nissan Alliance."

Shares in Nissan fell 1% to 510 yen in Tokyo ahead of the results.

Industry losses

It was a bleak day for Japanese carmakers as Mazda also announced an annual loss of 52.1bn yen, after seeing sales decline by 27%.

On Monday, Japan's biggest carmaker Toyota reported its largest annual net loss to date of 436.94bn yen.

Also on Monday, Suzuki reported a of 5.8bn yen profit for the first quarter of the year, but it said it was downbeat about future sales.

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