Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. updated its operating profit forecast from the six months ended September 30, 2012, to reflect an expected 34-percent increase. The raised forecast reflects higher sales in the U.S., wherein higher prices for its Subaru brand cars more than offset lower sales in China. For April-September 2012 period, Subaru sales grew 27% in North America, which accounts for around half of its global sales.
The increase in US sales came despite the imposing lower discounts on Subaru cars and sports utility vehicles. Unlike Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., Subaru took advantage of the recovering US demand by offering cashback rebates on models like the Forester and Outback. In a statement, Fuji Heavy said it is expecting an operating profit of JPY43 billion ($539 million) for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2012, up from the previous forecast of JPY32 billion.
Fuji Heavy, however, posted a 64-percent drop in sales in September in China, after a territorial dispute between Japan and China led to anti-Japan protests and boycotts of Japanese goods. China accounts for about 7% of the carmaker’s sales. Fuji Heavy said overall vehicle sales for the April-September period were below its forecast. The company will disclose further details when it releases its second-quarter earnings on Oct. 30, 2012.