Full-year operating profit at Mazda is expected to climb 42% to 118 billion yen, while net income is forecast to grow 31% to JPY60bn.

The Ford-controlled automaker has reported sales revenues up 4% in the first nine months of 2005, with revenues of JPY2.09 trillion.

The company said that a 3% increase in unit vehicle sales to 834,000 units reflects strong demand for its 3 and 5 models.

Higher revenues, combined with more favourable exchange rates and cost reductions contributed to a 31% increase in nine-month operating profit to JPY83.7bn, and a 58% increase in net income to JPY41.3bn.

For the full year Mazda projects a 7% rise in global wholesale sales to 1.15m units and a 7% increase in global revenues to JPY2.89 trillion in full-year 2005.

"Our results for the first nine months put us on track to achieve record profit levels for a second consecutive year", said Mazda's representative director and chief financial officer Gideon Wolthers.

"Our new MPV and CX-7 models will also assist in building a solid foundation for growth under Mazda Momentum, our mid-term plan."