Nissan expects 38% profit surge as sales rise

STORY: Nissan on Thursday (May 11) predicted a better-than-expected 38% rise in profit this year.

It's a rosier outlook for the Japanese automaker as it retools its often difficult alliance with Renault and faces headwinds in China.

The bullish forecast was based on expectations of almost 30% sales growth in both North America and Europe.

However, at just 8%, the forecast was far less upbeat in the key Chinese market.

Nissan faces intense pressure in the world's largest auto market, where nimble local players pose an increasing challenge thanks to a rapid roll-out of battery-powered electric vehicles.

Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta said that the company has to speed up the way it designs, manufactures and sells cars in the country.

Nissan sees operating profit rising to about $3.85 billion this financial year, well ahead of analyst forecasts and last year's figure.

Besides rising sales, a positive contribution to the forecast also comes from moderating prices for raw materials.

That, in turn, will help offset pressure from a stronger yen.

Over the latest quarter, Nissan profits came in at close to $650 million, just short of forecasts.

The company continues to work on rebalancing its alliance with longtime partner Renault.

But Nissan says it's working on its own plans for some software and EVs independently of the French firm.