Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru cars, barely managed to turn in a profit in the first quarter due mainly to costs associated with the US launch of a new version of its flagship Legacy model, according to Reuters.

Operating profit was a mere 12 million yen ($US107,300) for the April-June term, down from 9.23 billion a year earlier, even though revenue rose 8.5% to 307.5 billion yen, the report said.

According to the news agency, net profit, which fell 90% to 619 million yen, was also hurt by a 12-yen fall in the value of the dollar to an average 107 yen in the quarter.

The niche maker of off-road vehicles, however, reportedly stuck to its forecast made in May for an operating profit of 45 billion yen in the year to next March, down 10.6% from last year.

“Sales in Japan should pick up in the July-September quarter, so we’re not too worried about (overall profits in) the second half,” executive vice president Shunsuke Takagi told Reuters.

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The news agency said Fuji Heavy, best known for its symmetrical all-wheel-drive technology, expects damage from a weaker dollar to push net profit down 17% to 32 billion yen for the year, while sales are forecast to rise 2.1% to 1.47 trillion yen.

Domestic sales grew 10.3% to 54,000 vehicles during the quarter, helped by an increase in demand for cheaper 660cc minicars, while North American sales rose 22% to 44,000 units.