First quarter: Mazda sustains record profit levels

Coming off its best year ever, Mazda Motor Corporation’s first-quarter results confirmed its target of setting another new profit record for the current fiscal year. On the strength of its SKYACTIV Technology-based model generation, the unconventional carmaker posted a global operating profit of ¥56.4 billion (€403 million*) between 1 April and 30 June, up 54 per cent in yen terms from the same three-month period in 2013. This comes after Mazda recorded the highest earnings in its 94-year history for the fiscal 12 months ending on 31 March 2014.

Worldwide revenue during the quarter came in at ¥706 billion (€5.04 billion), a year-on-year increase of almost 15 per cent. The positive trend also continued with the company’s return on sales, which rose to 8 per cent from 5.9 per cent. Net income, meanwhile, came in at ¥48.9 billion (€349 million), a ¥43.4 billion gain.

Mazda’s global sales volume also continued to grow, up 6 per cent for the quarter to 319,000 units. Regionally, 56,000 vehicles sold in Europe**, a 23 per cent hike as the company’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the distribution network, enhance dealerships and improve the customer experience bore fruit. North America and China also saw considerable gains of 16 and 18 per cent, respectively.

The Hiroshima-based company’s ongoing success can be attributed above all to its new model generation, whose popularity hasn’t let up. Thanks to their uncompromising combination of ultra-efficient SKYACTIV Technology and stunning KODO designs, these cars – the Mazda3, Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 – made up two-thirds of Mazda’s new vehicle sales compared to 50 per cent during the same period last year. They will be joined by several more innovative new models over the next two years starting with the all-new Mazda2 supermini, which goes on sale in Japan in fall and Europe in early 2015 featuring (among other things) a brand-new SKYACTIV clean diesel engine. Production got under way in Japan in July.

Structural reforms have also had a major impact at Mazda, which has managed to sustain success during a turbulent period in the automobile industry while at the same time building a solid business foundation for tomorrow. The company’s production is now more global than ever, too, with a new plant in Mexico running smoothly after opening earlier this year and construction of a transmission line in Thailand proceeding as planned. They join expanded capacity in Malaysia and Russia.

Mazda’s full-year forecast remains unchanged. It calls for operating profits of ¥210 billion (€1.56 billion) – another new record – and net income of ¥160 billion (€1.19 billion), up almost 18 per cent year-on-year, on an 8-per-cent rise in revenue to ¥2.9 trillion (€21.5 billion). Unit sales are pegged at 1.42 million. Last year’s ¥182 billion operating profit bettered by 14 per cent the previous record (¥160 billion) set in the 2007-08 fiscal year in spite of a considerably less favourable yen exchange rate.

* Source: Mazda Motor Corporation’s “Consolidated Financial Results for the First Quarter of the Fiscal Year ending March 31, 2015”. Euro figures were calculated at €1 = ¥140; forecasts the current year at €1 = ¥135

** EU, EFTA & Russia