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Europe tops U.S. in Mazda's books

From Automotive News | May 05,2007
For Mazda Motor Corp.'s last fiscal year, Europe topped the United States in unit sales and profits.

Mazda sold 301,000 vehicles, up 6.7 percent, in Europe during the fiscal year that ended March 31. It was the first time in 15 years for sales to exceed 300,000.

Mazda's European operations turned an operating profit of 15.49 billion yen, or $131.2 million at current exchange rates, up 61.9 percent.

In the United States, Mazda sold a record 281,000 vehicles, up 7.3 percent. It posted an operating profit of $130.9 million, up 11.0 percent.

It was not a one-time fluke. Mazda predicts its European sales will total 321,000 in the fiscal year that began April 1, against 296,000 in the United States.

Mazda already includes sales in Russia and the Ukraine in its European total. In the current fiscal year it also will count sales in Turkey as part of European sales.

Mazda's overall profits benefited from favorable exchange rates. The yen-euro rate contributed $153.3 million to Mazda's total operating profit of $1.34 billion during the last fiscal year. That was almost double the $83.0 million added by the yen's favorable rate against the dollar.

"That's a unique windfall for us," says Daniel Morris, senior managing executive officer in charge of marketing and sales. "It's not how you plan your business."

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