Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor appear to be heading towards healthy profits for the current fiscal year based on results just posted for the third quarter, according to a Reuters report.

Both have projected strong earnings for the year to March 31 driven by strong sales growth, and have kept their forecasts intact despite a drop in the US dollar’s value against the Japanese yen, the report noted.

Nissan reportedly said global vehicle sales climbed 11.6% to 719,696 units during the October-December term, generating revenues of 1.82 trillion yen ($US17.14 billion).

Reuters said the nine-month total of 5.376 trillion yen, compared with a full-year forecast of 7.45 trillion yen, suggests a 9.1% increase from the year before.

Quarterly revenue at Mazda rose 17% to 645.11 billion yen, boosted by a sharp jump in sales in Europe, Reuters added.

Mazda in mid-2003 launched in Europe its Ford Fiesta-sized 2 (Demio) hatchback range, which followed the well-received Mondeo-size 6, launched the previous year. It has since added further variants to both model lines and in October added the Focus-size 3 (Axela) hatchback. It is just now rolling out the sedan versions and additional engine options, including a 1.6-litre direct-injection diesel essential for a decent market share on the continent.

Reuters noted that neither Mazda nor Nissan issued other financial figures such as operating and net profits for the latest reporting period.

According to the report, for the nine months to December, Mazda said its sales volume worldwide grew 5.1% to 786,000 vehicles from the year-earlier period, although sales dipped 0.5% in Japan.

North American sales during January-September, which the company counts in its first to third reporting periods, fell 8%, though the trend has since reversed, with double-digit percentage gains during the past three months, Reuters added.

The news agency said Mazda has forecast a 28% jump in group operating profit to 65 billion yen for the full business year – the highest in a decade – plus a 24% rise in net profit to 30 billion yen and a 5.7% growth in sales to 2.5 trillion yen.

Reuters said that Nissan kept its full-year forecasts for an 11% rise in group operating profit to a record 820 billion yen and a flat net profit of 495 billion yen.