Nissan announces record sales for 2012

Nissan today posted record sales for 2012 as the Japanese car giant benefited from a pick-up in demand.

Nissan sales saw a 5.8 per cent on-year rise to 4.94 million units.

Honda, Japan's number-three automaker, recorded sales of 3.81 million vehicles, up from 3.09 million a year earlier, as strong US and Asian demand boosted its results.

Robust Asian sales and a pick-up in North America helped drive sales, offsetting weak demand in Europe and the effects of Tokyo's diplomatic row with Beijing, which sparked a Chinese consumer boycott of Japanese goods in the latter part of the year.

Nissan said it posted record sales in the United States last year, underscoring the pick-up in demand in a key vehicle market.

However, Nissan, part-owned by France's Renault, warned in November that its net profit for the fiscal year through March would be down 20 per cent to 320 billion yen (USD 3.52 billion), citing its heavy exposure to the Chinese market.

Honda has blamed the ongoing territorial row -- and a strong yen -- for a 20 per cent cut to its annual profit forecast.

The long-standing row flared again in September when Tokyo nationalised an East China Sea island chain that is also claimed by Beijing, setting off huge demonstrations across China and the consumer boycott.

Japanese factories and businesses across China temporarily closed or scaled back operations over fears of being targeted by angry mobs.

The tension prompted Nissan's chief executive Carlos Ghosn to warn that the firm would think twice about making new investments. It has several production plants in China with a new factory in the northeastern city of Dalian planned for 2014.

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