Was it luck? Was it hard work? A mixture of both? After escaping a near collision with fate in Iwaki, and not even getting its feet wet in Thailand, Nissan emerges as the most successful after the trials brought on by the unholy triad of tsunami, flood and yen. We said this a while ago when we compared 2011 production numbers of Japan’s majors.
Today, we go to Yokohama to check the balance sheets.
In the most unceremonious way, Japan’s second largest automaker Nissan today stands out as the country’s most profitable. On the 8th floor of Nissan’s glitzy building by the Yokohama waterfront, there is no arm-waving Carlos Ghosn today who fills the room with French-accented quotables. In his stead, Nissan fields a nondescript Nissan’s Corporate Vice President, Joji Tagawa, to present thgwe quarterly results.
The bespectacled VP with chin fuzz and spiky hair rattles off words and numbers as if his life would depend on the speed of their delivery. It does not matter: The numbers could have been delivered by a silent nun, they still would have conveyed their punch:
Both in the October-December quarter, and also in its guidance for the results of the fiscal year which ends on March 31st, Nissan trounced Honda and Toyota. October-December, Nissan’s operating profit was 118.1 billion yen ($1.54 billion). Net profit amounted to 82.67 billion yen ($1.07 billion.) Even better, Nissan sticks with its profit forecast for the fiscal that calls for a net profit of 290 billion yen ($3.8 billion).
Post water torture, Nissan appears to be in the best shape of all.
While Toyota and Honda had to scrounge for cars and parts, and still are supply constrained to some extent, Nissan rebounded quickly and gained market share around the world. Toyota lost 240,000 cars to the Thai flood, Honda’s plant in Thailand was submerged for months and is a near total write-off. And Nissan? Only 33,000 units went down the drain.
Now, let’s see whether they can keep it up.