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Nissan swings back to profit despite chips crunch

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese automaker Nissan swung back into the black for the quarter through December, despite shortages of computer chips that have hit the entire industry and many other manufacturers.

Nissan Motor Co, allied with Renault SA of France, reported yesterday a JPY32.7 billion profit for the fiscal third quarter, a reversal from the JPY37.8 billion loss racked up a year ago.

Quarterly sales slipped to JPY2.21 trillion from JPY2.22 trillion.

Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta said global auto markets had dipped 18 per cent in volume due largely to the shortfall of computer chips resulting from disruptions linked to the pandemic.

Nissan’s sales dipped 16 per cent, with strong sales of its Note compact in Japan and Pathfinder sport utility vehicle in the United States (US).

Nissan, based in the port city of Yokohama, raised its fiscal year profit forecast to JPY205 billion, better than its previous JPY180 billion profit projection.

It kept its global sales forecast for the fiscal year unchanged at 3.8 million vehicles.

Strong demand in the US market added momentum to Nissan’s results, according to the maker of the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models.

Chief Executive Makoto Uchida acknowledged uncertainty remains for the final quarter.

“In fiscal year 2021, we have steadily improved our business performance through the first nine months by launching new vehicles, improving the quality of our sales, and continuing our efforts to ensure financial discipline,” he said.

Nissan’s reputation was tarnished by the high-profile scandal of its former star executive Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested on financial misconduct charges in 2018.

He jumped bail, fleeing Japan and is now in Lebanon, the nation of his ancestry. He said he
is innocent.

Nissan officials said the global shift to electric vehicles to counter climate change will be a boon for the automaker, as it was an early leader in EVs, a move that came under Ghosn.

The Renault-Nissan also includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp.