Nissan announced it reduced its full-year net profit by a fifth to $3.99 billion due to decreased demand in China.
The September violent protests in China almost halved Nissan, Honda and Toyota’s sales in the country. The protests sparkled in mid-September after Japan purchased the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Nissan was the most affected as China accounts for 27% of the automaker’s sales. The company and its joint ventures in China saw the auto sales drop 41% in October, to 64,300 vehicles.
Nissan’s profit during the Jan-Sept period increased 7.7% to 106 billion yen ($1.32 billion), due to lower than expected auto sales in Europe and the US. The automaker reduced its sales target in China for this year to 1.175 million vehicles from a previous 1.35 million, and the global sales are expected to reach 5.08 million units in the year ending March 2013, down from the previous target of 5.35 million.
“We are gradually seeing signs of recovery (in China). Customers are gradually coming back to dealerships,” Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters.
Nissan’s second biggest market is the US, where the automaker dealt with production delays in July for the top-selling Altima mid-sized sedan, amid tough competition with the Honda Accord, Toyota’s Camry, Ford’s Fusion and also mid-size models from Hyundai, GM and VW.