(Yicai Global) May 18 -- Several Japanese car makers have reported favorable financial results for the last fiscal year (running from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018), buoyed by a weaker yen, lower costs, better sales in the Chinese market, as well as benefits related to the US tax regime changes.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which posted fastest profit growth among Japanese car companies for the year, sold 1.1 million vehicles globally, up 19 percent annually. Car sales in China rose 55 percent to 136,000, boosted by the introduction of its Outlander model made by GAC Mitsubishi Motors Co.
Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. had already established relatively large sales in China leading to more modest rises last year despite still demonstrating strong growth overall. Nissan remains the best-selling Japanese car brand in China. Its global sales rose 2.6 percent to 5.8 million vehicles, while it sold 1.5 million cars in China, an increase of 12.2 percent. For comparison, the firm sold 1.6 million vehicles in the US and 584,000 in its domestic market.
Though Toyota's sales in North America, its biggest single market globally, fell slightly to 2.8 million vehicles, annual sales reached a record high of 10.4 million, thanks to rising sales in other markets. In particular, it sold 1.7 million vehicles in Asia, mostly in China. Toyota sold 1.3 million cars in China last year and aims for 1.4 million this year.
Nissan and Toyota's sales have grown rapidly in China this year. In the first four months, Nissan's sales increased 9.9 percent to 461,400 vehicles, while those of Toyota expanded 9 percent to 439,800 vehicles. Nissan's Sylphy was the best-selling model in China last month, followed by Toyota's Corolla, pushing former long-time champion Lavida into third place.
Honda Motor Co. failed to maintain its rapid sales growth seen last year due to its recall of the CR-V and other models over engine oil issues. Car sales fell 8.8 percent from a year ago in China last month, the third consecutive annual decline. Despite its lackluster performance, Honda is accelerating adjustments to snap up market share in China's mid to high-end car market with its 10th-generation Accord model. Honda will also roll out a new electric vehicle in the country this year.
Honda expects global sales to increase 3 percent this fiscal year, with China playing an important role. China is one of the most important markets for Honda, Takahiro Hachigo, the company's president, said at the Beijing Auto Show last month.
Editor: William Clegg