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Economy

Isuzu interim profit seen climbing 7% as Thai sales recover

Pickup trucks, industrial engines may spark upgrade to full-year plan

Isuzu Motors makes the D-Max pickup truck in Thailand for local sales and exports. (Photo courtesy of Isuzu)

TOKYO -- Isuzu Motors is expected to report a 7% increase in group operating profit for the April-September period to around 73 billion yen ($640 million), helped by brisk sales of pickup trucks in Thailand and industrial engines in China.

The initial projection called for 61 billion yen in profit.

Sales apparently rose 6% to about 960 billion yen. The Japanese company makes pickups in Thailand for local sales and exports. Thai sales had languished in the past few years amid political uncertainties and the drop-off from a temporary boost from changes in the tax system.

Thai export shipments also are recovering, especially to Australia and Latin America.

Sales of industrial engines are rising to Chinese manufacturers and Japanese construction machinery builders. Isuzu appears on track to outpace its projected shipments of 89,000 units for the full year, with about half going to China.

Sales of mainstay trucks were solid in Japan and rose in North America, lifting overall performance despite lackluster demand in the Middle East and Africa.

Isuzu also benefited from streamlining, as revamped production facilities in Japan lift profitability. The company opened a logistics center last fiscal year at a mainstay truck plant in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Fujisawa, and is working to cut transportation costs by consolidating parts delivery locations.

Interim results are to be released Monday. The apparently strong first half may spur Isuzu to upgrade its full-year forecast of a 4% increase in operating profit to 152 billion yen on sales of 1.99 trillion yen, up 2%.

(Nikkei)

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