Q1: How do you see the results for the first quarter?
CVP Tagawa: I think the first quarter performance is respectable given that retail sales units increased more than 14.6% and our operating profit came a little over 120 billion yen. Our global market share increased by 0.4% to 5.9%. So, given that I think the results are in line with what we have forecast before, I think from now the important thing for us is to execute what we plan to do based on our forecast and our mid-term plan.
Q2: How does Nissan's performance compare to that of its competitors?
CVP Tagawa: That's an excellent question. I think what happened was as Nissan recovered so quickly in 2011. Our year-over-year comparison does not look great, as we had an excellent first quarter of 2011. In 2011 operating profit margin was 7.2%. So, compared to that we are slightly, year-over-year, downward. I expect our major competitors, or some of the competitors at least, are having a significant increase because their loss of production was much larger a year ago. They booked losses, some of the automakers, or a very limited amount of profit. So, in terms of comparison we are of course not great, but once again we need to execute what we plan to do.
Q3: Looking ahead, what do you forecast for the rest of the year?
CVP Tagawa: The external environment is really tough and challenging. As pointed out the euro crisis and the overvalued yen, those are really tough situations. The good news for us is we have a lot of new and exciting models coming in the latter part of the year.
The new Altima in the United States was just launched at the end of the first quarter. Note, the third V-platform vehicle, was just announced and starts selling in September from Japan. Sylphy just launched in China, and again in North America the Pathfinder and Sentra are coming later in the year. As those sales go well, I expect both a recovery and increase in sales as well as an improvement in profitability.
VIDEO Behind the Q1 Numbers: Nissan CVP Joji Tagawa