Nissan blames weak demand for 35% slump in profits

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Japanese car maker Nissan has suffered a 35 per cent drop in profits amid weak demand across China, Europe and the US, but left its forecasts for the year unchanged.

The group, which employs 6,000 people at its UK plant in Sunderland, said profits for the three months to December sank to £368 million, on sales 5.3 per cent lower at £14.9 billion.

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s performance in the third quarter did not meet our expectations.

“This was primarily the result of difficult operating conditions in Europe for the entire auto industry, in China for Japanese automakers, and in the US for Nissan.”

All Japanese car makers are experiencing a sales decline in China, where a territorial dispute set off anti-Japanese riots and boycotts last year, while Nissan is struggling in its key US market in the face of a strong performance from rival Toyota.

However, Nissan stuck to its full-year forecast for a £2.2bn profit on sales of £66.7bn.

The firm said in December that it would be creating 1,000 jobs in the UK as part of a £250m investment to build a new model under its Infinity premium brand, which is set to be produced from 2015.