Mazda Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. both said they are on pace to achieve record profits for the year ending March 2015. This comes as both carmaker posted strong demand for their vehicles in the United States, allowing them to log double-digit profit gains in the first quarter ended June 2014.
Mazda and Fuji Heavy both consider the US as their largest market, which posted an annualized sales rate of 17 million vehicles in June. Mazda posted a 54.4-percent jump in operating profit in April-June to JPY56.4 billion ($549.1 million), for a profit margin of 8 percent (6 percent in the same period last year).
Fuji Heavy, parent of Subaru, posted a 13-percent jump in operating profit to a record JPY78.7 billion in the first quarter ended June. A weaker yen helped Mazda and Fuji Heavy to hike their earnings in the period.
Despite struggling in their home turf Japan in the first quarter of the fiscal year, Mazda and Fuji were able to compensate with strong performance overseas. The increases in their profits demonstrated their focus on profitability over sales volume.
"This is a time when our patience is being tested," Mazda Executive Officer Tetsuya Fujimoto said. He, however, said that the carmaker’s sales in July in Japan may have dropped 20 percent as it gears up to roll out a remodeled Demio/Mazda2 subcompact in the fall.
He seemed unmoved with the prospect, saying that a sales drop in Japan would be compensated by strong sales overseas.
According to Fujimoto, Mazda is trying to boost profit per vehicle while it rolls out fuel-efficient vehicles in its "Skyactiv" series. These models share common structures and are assembled using a new manufacturing system that reduces costs.
Fuji Heavy, while the smallest of Japan's seven global carmakers, has the highest operating profit margin at around 13 percent. Both Mazda and Fuji Heavy reiterated their annual profit forecasts.