Mazda and Subaru profit from strong U.S. sales image

Mazda Motor Corp and Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. said they are on the way to making full-year profits after strong sales in the United States, despite the downturn in Japan.

The U.S. is the biggest market for both carmakers and this June, the overall market registered the highest rate in the last 8 years, with 17 million vehicles sold.
The strong demand coming from the U.S. for the two companies offset the not so good situation in Japan. Both automakers had a sales drop at double-digit rates in first 3 months of the year, and a sales tax hike in April added to that. Fuji Heavy delayed its launch of the new Levorg station wagon in Japan by about a month, while Subaru dealt with its limited production capacity. For the following months, it will add 20,000 vehicles of annual capacity in Japan and 30,000 in Indiana, U.S., planning by 2016 to raise Indiana’s plant capacity by 50%, up to a total of 300,000 vehicles.

Mazda Executive Officer, Tetsuya Fujimoto said “We can cover for the domestic drop with sales overseas. This is a time when our patience is being tested.” Mazda’s profit for April-June was up to 54.4%, having a $549.1 million operating profit. Fujimoto added that the Japanese carmaker has had a bigger profit per vehicle due to the launch of its fuel-efficient ones in the “Skyactiv” series, which cut costs.
Fuji Heavy said that it booked its highest ever first-quarter operating profit of $764.5 million due to the popularity of its all-wheel drive Subaru that has an advanced crash prevention system.
Mazda’s sales in U.S. jumped 18% in April-June, selling 78,373 vehicles, with the help of its remodeled Mazda3 compact, while Subaru’s U.S. sales grew 12% to 125,620 vehicles, with its Forester compact SUV leading the sales.

By Gabriela Florea