Following on from Hino last week, Isuzu Motors is the second truck maker to thank stricter exhaust emissions standards in Japan for boosting sales. As a result, Isuzu returned to profit for the April-December period from a loss a year earlier as streamlining of its operations reduced costs.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Isuzu posted a group pre-tax profit of Y57.63 billion for the nine-month period, improving notably from a loss of Y30.02 billion in the previous year, after group sales rose 11.3% to Y1.065 trillion from Y956.85 billion.

General Motors affiliate Isuzu also reported a group operating profit of Y58.96 billion, compared with a loss of Y12.27 billion in 2002, the report added.

Dow Jones said Isuzu maintained its profit outlook for the full fiscal year, as announced on November 20. That forecasts a group net profit of Y40 billion – which would be an all-time high and its first full-year group net profit in five years – and group sales of Y1.4 trillion.

The report noted that Isuzu has been increasing efforts, with help from GM, to restructure its operations and its latest reform plan included the stopping production of sport utility vehicles in the United States.

For the April-December period, a decision to remove an engine production company in North America from its consolidated earnings at the end of last fiscal year caused revenue to slump, but restructuring efforts helped Isuzu improve its bottom line, Dow Jones said.

Boosted by strong sales of pickup trucks in Thailand [where a completely redesigned line was launched recently], sales and profits in Asia increased, the Dow Jones report said.