Major manufacturers predict the worst is over in the slump
29 July 2009

Major manufacturers are confident they have weathered the worst of the recession after the recent release of updated sales, production and profit figures.

Mercedes-Benz's parent firm Daimler posted of a loss of more than a billion euros in the second quarter of 2009 before taxes, but this result was better than expected.

Mercedes expects to see a return to profit in 2010; this process should be helped by sales of the new E-class which went on sale earlier this year.

Nissan’s figures were for the first quarter of the fiscal year (1 April–30 June) and its profits were down by 120 million euros. Global sales were down 22.8 per cent on the same period last year, but CEO Carlos Ghosn still predicted a bright future.

“2009 continues to be a tough year, but we are beginning to see positive results from the measures taken under our recovery plan,” he said.

“Despite the global financial and economic crisis, Nissan is poised to embark on a new chapter of growth and innovation. In August, we will move to our new Nissan global headquarters in Yokohama after more than 40 years, celebrating our company’s return to its birthplace.

“In addition, we will reveal the all-electric vehicle that will spearhead our vision for mass-market zero-emission mobility.”

VW saw its global sales fall by five per cent in the first half of 2009 but this compares favourably to the 17.7 per cent drop across the entire market.

Detlef Wittig, VW Group’s sales and marketing executive vice president, said, “The comparatively good trend in our sales figures shows that the Volkswagen Group is headed in the right direction. Everything is running to plan. Nevertheless, a major effort is needed in the second half of the year if we are to remain on course. Economic uncertainty will continue as the year progresses.”

PSA Peugeot-Citroen posted a first half loss of 826 million euros, but this was also better than expected. PSA is less optimistic about a quick recovery, but it does expect to see the market pick up in the second half of this year and return to profit by late 2010.

Mitsubishi didn’t release any money figures, but confirmed it had seen global production fall by 55.8 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2009. Global sales figures have not been released, but the Japanese manufacturer saw sales fall 27.9 per cent in the first half of 2009 compared with last year’s levels.

Honda saw its net profit fall by 96 per cent in the first quarter of 2009.

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