China slowdown to weigh on results, outlook of Nissan, rivals
By Yoko Kubota and Hyunjoo Jin
TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) - Sputtering growth in China, the world's largest auto market, is clouding the outlook for Asian car brands and will weigh on results due for release in coming weeks.
Auto sales in China grew just 2.9 percent in the first half of 2012 after posting anemic growth of 2.5 percent in 2011, setting the country up for its slowest back-to-back years of growth since the market took off in the late 1990s.
In 2010, growth had been a blistering 32 percent.
Nissan, which has a relatively high exposure to the China market compared to its Asian peers, is expected to report a fall in profit for the April to June quarter.
Domestic rivals, including Toyota and Hyundai are expected to report rises in profits despite the sharp slowdown in growth in the Chinese auto market.
According to six analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, Japan's No. 2 automaker will post a 4-percent drop in quarterly net profit when it reports its figures on Thursday.
A major factor in the decline is a stronger year-earlier performance. Nissan bounced back more quickly than its domestic rivals from the supply disruptions that followed the Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Continued...