Nissan Motor has posted net income up 18.8% to JPY274.2bn yen ($US2.38bn, EUR1.93bn) for the first half of fiscal year 2006, ended 30 September but the gain was due to the sale of Nissan Diesel shares, favourable pension benefits in China and tax benefits due to losses incurred from restructuring its domestic dealer network.

Operating profit was down 15.3% to JPY348.6bn while the operating profit margin was 7.7%. Net revenues were up just 1% to JPY4.534 trillion.

In the first half, Nissan sold a total of 1,709,000 vehicles worldwide, down 6.9% compared with last year, reflecting a tough time in Japan and falling sales overseas, especially in the US where it launched just one new model - the Versa - in the 16 months up to last July.

"As forecasted, a combination of external headwinds and a lack of new product resulted in a lower level of performance in the first six months," said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "In the second half, and into 2007, you will see a return to the intense product launch activity that has fueled Nissan's profitable growth in the past," he added.

During the next six months nine new products will be introduced globally, led by the Sentra, Altima and Infiniti G35 sedans in the US, the Qashqai compact crossover in Europe, the all-new Skyline sedan and Otti minicar in Japan, and the Livina Geniss in China.

In the July-to-September second quarter, Nissan's net income rose 31.2% to JPY164.0bn (US$1.42bn, EUR1.15bn). Net revenues were JPY2.324 trillion, down 0.9%. Operating profit was down 4.9% to JPY195.3bn while the operating profit margin was 8.4%.

Nissan's operating profit margin improved significantly compared with the first quarter when it posted a profit margin of 6.9% amid a one-time warranty charge in North America.

Nissan sold 883,000 vehicles worldwide in the second quarter, down 7.6% year on year.

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