TOKYO: Mazda Motor Corp today declined to give an earnings forecast and posted its lowest annual profit operating profit in eight years as the coronavirus outbreak hammered global vehicle demand.
Profit at Japan’s No. 5 automaker came in at 43.6 billion yen (RM1.7bil) for the year ended March 31, nearly half the 82.3 billion yen (RM3.3bil) for the previous year and its lowest since the year ended March 31, 2012.
Still, it exceeded a consensus estimate of 25.7 billion yen from 17 analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Mazda declined to give an earnings forecast for the current business year due to uncertainties about the longer-term impact of the coronavirus on its operations and sales.
It saw a 9% decline in global vehicle sales last year to 1.42 million units, after sales dropped by 20% during the fourth quarter, when vehicle plants and car showrooms began to close due to lockdown measures ordered in many countries.
The automaker took a particularly big hit in China, its second-largest market and where the coronavirus originated.
Global automakers have begun to gradually resume operations at their vehicle plants, but weak demand, supply chain disruptions and social distancing measures at factories are expected to limit output in the coming months.
Any recovery in car demand is expected to be slow and patchy with job losses and reduced income likely to weigh on consumer spending. Fewer people commuting to work may also dampen demand for new cars.
Some analysts believe global vehicle sales this year could tumble by a third, a much steeper decline than the 11% fall seen in the 2009/10 financial year amid the global financial crisis.