Isuzu Motors on Friday said it expected its global vehicle sales to fall 6% in 2004, prompting a 6% slide in its share price, according to Reuters.


The restructuring truck maker reportedly said it saw 2004 vehicle sales tumbling to 480,000 units, with domestic sales falling 21% after a 69% jump last year when Japanese truck demand surged with the introduction of stricter emission controls.


Reuters said Isuzu’s outlook compares with a 2.6% rise in global sales forecast by Hino Motors, the truck-making arm of Toyota Motor and one of the healthiest of Japan’s four truck makers.


Isuzu shares closed 6.14% lower at 214 yen, the report said, adding that analysts were unfazed by the slower sales outlook, saying that the greater-than-expected jump in domestic truck demand last year had actually raised production costs.


“Less production volume does not automatically translate into lower profits,” Mitsubishi Securities auto analyst Shotaro Noguchi told Reuters.


The report said that, after four years in the red and years of restructuring, Isuzu, 12% owned by General Motors, is forecasting a net profit of 40 billion yen for the year to March 31.


The news agency said that Isuzu’s stock has climbed over threefold since April 1, the beginning of the current business year, compared to a 48% rise for Hino and a 72% rise for Nissan Diesel Motor.


Although sales will be slower at home, Isuzu is predicting overseas sales to climb some 10%, Reuters said, noting that pick-up truck sales in Thailand, one of Isuzu’s main markets, are expected to edge 2.5% higher after production there jumped 59% last year, while Chinese sales are also expected to rise 17% this year.