Nissan Motor has announced a net after tax loss of JPY16.5bn (US$170m) for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2010, compared to net income of JPY52.8bn (US$540m) a year ago.

Net revenue fell 35.5% to JPY1.5148 trillion (US$15.55bn). Operating profit was down 85.5% to JPY11.6bn (US$120m) while the ordinary loss was JPY26.1bn (US$270m).

President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “2009 continues to be a tough year, but we are beginning to see positive results from the measures taken under our recovery plan. We are on track towards positive free cash flow for FY2009 and will remain cautious in our outlook for the rest of the year.”

Nissan sold 723,000 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, down 22.8% year on year. North America sales fell 31.6% to 225,000 units, Japanese volume was down 21.6% to 116,000 and European sales were off 24.6% to 118,000 units.

The company said China continued to show growth with sales up 9.3% at 145,000 units. Sales in other regions were down 30.5% to 119,000 units.

During the first quarter Nissan launched three new models, the (Maruti Suzuki-produced Alto/A-star spin-off) Pixo in Europe, the NV200 compact van line in Japan and the Infiniti G37 convertible in the United States. During fiscal 2009 the company plans to launch eight new vehicle lines globally.

Ghosn added: “Despite the global financial and economic crisis, Nissan is poised to embark on a new chapter of growth and innovation. We will reveal the all electric vehicle that will spearhead our vision for mass market, zero emission mobility.”

Nissan’s full fiscal year forecast remained unchanged with operating loss pegged at JPY100bn (US$1.05bn) and a net loss of JPY170bn (US$1.79bn).