Nissan has posted financial results for the six-month period to 30 September and they show that operating profit was hit by lower wholesale volume as part of efforts to reduce dealer inventory levels, cut incentives and improve the quality of sales.
In the first half, the company's net revenue fell 2.1% to JPY5.53tn (US$48.62bn). Operating profit fell 25.4% to JPY210.3bn, equivalent to an operating profit margin of 3.8%. This, Nissan said, was largely due to a planned decrease in wholesale volume. Net income fell less steeply, declining 10.9% to JPY246.3bn.
Nissan said the planned reduction of wholesale volumes has not impacted retail sales with volumes remaining 'essentially the same as the previous year'.
Nissan singled out its activities to cut stocks in North America – the US is its biggest market and Nissan had been relatively active in offering incentives to support sales. It said substantial progress was made in improving the quality of sales by reducing inventories and 'optimising incentive levels' in the US market. It also said sales in Japan recovered from the impact of last year's final vehicle inspection issue. Sales volumes in Thailand, the Philippines and Latin America, in particular, increased substantially in the period. The company's operations in China also performed well during the period. Nissan said it will continue efforts to strengthen its business, with the aim of ensuring that performance recovers in the second half.
Nissan said profits fell 7.9% in the second quarter of the year, while operating profit was down by more than 21% on last year.
Hiroshi Karube, Nissan chief financial officer, said there has been progress in cutting US inventory but its efforts were overshadowed by peaking car demand and uncertainty about the global trade war.
"It's taking longer and it's more costly than we had anticipated," he told a news conference.
For the fiscal year through March 2019, Nissan maintained its guidance for a 33% decline in net profit to ¥500bn.