Nissan Motor has reported a 4.5% increase in second-quarter profits, citing strong sales of new car models launched last year as a major factor behind the improvement. Strong sales in North America helped to offset weak demand in Japan and the effects of a weak dollar. Nissan’s net profit of 123.2 billion yen ($1.11 billion) for the April-June quarter was up from 117.89 billion yen a year earlier.

The results follow strong figures from Nissan’s alliance partner Renault announced earlier this week.

Nissan’s operating profit increased by 5.8 percent to 186.32 billion yen ($1.67 billion) in the quarter from 176.06 billion yen a year ago.

For the April-June quarter, Nissan’s group sales totalled 1.9 trillion yen ($17 billion), up 15 percent from 1.7 trillion in the same period a year earlier, lifted by firmer demand for its cars in Japan as well as stronger sales in North America and Europe.

Worldwide, Nissan sold a total of 769,000 vehicles in the first quarter of the fiscal year, an increase of 9.9 percent compared with last year, building on new products launched in the second half of fiscal year 2003.

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Helping profits further, margins have improved recently in North America, with Nissan launching new light trucks such as the Titan pickup and the Infiniti QX56 sport utility vehicle from its Canton, Mississippi plant. Nissan’s product launches for the rest of this fiscal year include four new models in the United States and six in Japan.

Nissan has forecast full fiscal year net revenue of 8.2 trillion yen, operating profit of 860 billion yen and net profit of 510 billion yen.