TOKYO – Mazda returned to profit in the latest quarter, as booming U.S. deliveries of crossovers such as the CX-50 and CX-90 helped the automaker reverse a loss from the year before and put the brand on pace to nearly notch a new U.S. sales record.
Operating profit rang up at 30.0 billion yen ($207.5 million) in the company’s fiscal first quarter ended June 30, wiping out an operating loss of 19.5 billion yen ($134.9 million) a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
Net income more than doubled to 37.2 billion yen ($257.3 million), from 15.0 billion yen ($103.8 million), as revenue climbed 72 percent to 286.0 billion ($1.98 billion) in the three-month period.
Global sales expanded 32 percent to 309,000 vehicles in the quarter, soaring on the wings of a 61 percent jump in North American shipments to 128,000 vehicles.
North America accounted for nearly half of Mazda’s global volume in the April-June period.
Sales in Europe, Mazda’s second-biggest market, rose 46 percent to 44,000.
A new wave of large-sized crossovers, such as the CX-90 for North America and the CX-60 for Europe and Japan, reap about double the per-unit profit as Mazda’s average vehicle, he said.
Shipments were especially brisk in the U.S., where the CX-90 and CX-50 anchor a refreshed lineup of crossovers. Mazda expects its U.S. sales momentum to gain speed on increased supply following the start of two-shift production at its Alabama assembly plant in July.
“Our dealers are very excited about both opportunities,” Guyton said of the large-sized vehicles and the ramped-up output from the Huntsville factory that makes the CX-50.
Mazda wants the CX-90 to “upshift” existing customers into a higher price bracket while also siphoning off customers from premium brands with a lower price point.
“We see it growing steadily growing share week by week,” Guyton said of the CX-90, adding that it has already outstripped the market penetration of its CX-9 predecessor nameplate.
The addition of a slightly smaller CX-70 for the U.S. is expected to further stoke sales.
Mazda now expects U.S. volume to reach 367,000 vehicles this fiscal year, just shy of the 379,843-unit high set back in 1986. “That’s very nearly an all-time record,” Guyton said.
Looking ahead, Mazda kept its earnings outlook unchanged for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024. It said production should crank up based on stabilized supply of semiconductors but noted that a strengthening Japanese yen should erode overall net income.
It predicts operating profit to grow 27 percent to 180.0 billion yen ($1.25 billion), while net income is forecast to decline 9 percent to 130.0 billion yen ($888.3 million).
Worldwide retail sales are seen expanding 17 percent to 1.3 million in the current fiscal year.