Mazda braces for full-year operating loss

Mazda braces for full-year operating loss

TOKYO — Mazda forecast a record full-year operating loss Friday as the Japanese automaker continues to be pummeled by falling vehicle sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan’s No. 5 automaker anticipates a 40 billion yen ($383.5 million) loss for the fiscal year to March, joining a growing number of automakers which expect annual losses after the virus shuttered vehicle plants and kept customers away from car dealerships.

Mazda posted an operating loss of 45.3 billion yen ($433 million) for the April-June quarter, its weakest in 11 years, due to a 31 percent drop in vehicle sales in the period.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the automaker had been suffering from sliding profits for the past two years as slim new vehicle offerings has knocked sales in the United States and China, its two biggest markets.

For its fiscal year ending in March, Mazda anticipates an 8 percent fall in global vehicle sales to 1.3 million units, its lowest in seven years. The automaker said it would forgo paying a dividend this year.

In the April-June quarter, sales fell to 244,000 units, largely due to a drop in demand at home and in Europe.

But China was a bright spot, as sales rose 13 percent during the quarter as car demand has returned to the world’s largest auto market, having recovered relatively quickly from the virus.

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