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Mazda to see 20% profit drop as US spending rises

Automaker bolsters dealership network ahead of new plant opening

Mazda's CX-8 sports utility vehicle. SUVs are expected to drive the company's global sales growth. (Photo by Yukihiro Omoto)

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor is expected to see group operating profit fall about 20% on the year in fiscal 2018 as the automaker steps up spending on its U.S. sales network and new environmental and safety technologies. 

Operating profit is likely to reach around 110 billion yen ($1 billion) for the year ending March 2019, marking the first profit decline in two years. The yen's appreciation against the dollar will also erode the profitability of exports.

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