Mazda Motor Corporation boosted operating profit 30% year-on-year to 29.6bn yen, with ordinary profit increasing 12% to 24.0bn yen in the first quarter of fiscal year 2006.

Net income increased by 6.2bn yen to 6.6bn yen.

Revenue increased 9% to 734.3bn yen. Mazda said this was due to an improved model mix and a weaker yen against other major currencies.

Retail sales in Japan dropped 6% to 62,000 units due to a major drop in demand. In America, demand for the new 5 minivan and MX-5 roadster contributed to a small 3% increase to 73,000 units. In Europe, continuing popularity of those two new models saw sales increase 10% to 76,000 units.

Chinese sales fell 24% to 29,000 units but it should be noted the company was forced earlier this year to temporarily halt 3 production there due to a regulatory issue.

Wholesale sales for the quarter fell to 272,000 units, down 2% year-on-year. Mazda claimed the decline was planned and due mainly to model changeovers and the one-time effect of restructuring several European sales companies into wholly owned subsidiaries.

The auomaker's full year FY2006 sales forecast remains unchanged at 1.21m units, up 5%. Revenue is expected to increase 6% to 3,100bn yen, full-year operating profit is expected to rise 9% to 135bn yen and net income is projected to climb 12% to 75bn yen.

Chief financial officer David Friedman said: "We have achieved year-on-year profit gains across the board for the first quarter. We are pleased to grow our operating margin to 4.0% from 3.4% for the same period in 2005, demonstrating continued improvement in our business structure.

"Mazda's mid-term business plan, Mazda Momentum continues on track."