According to a Reuters report, Japan's five major automakers are set to post record profits as they prepare to close out their 2005/2006 fiscal year. While the depressed value of the yen has played a role in boosting profits for Japanese companies, there remains a strong link between new product launches and automaker profits, with Nissan posting the weakest Q4 results among Japanese automakers, with no new models in the all-important U.S. market.

The report forecasts continued growth for Toyota, Nissan and Honda for at least two years, with the biggest gains in the U.S. Key products in the Japanese new model pipeline:
  • Toyota's new Camry, America's best-selling car has just launched, and its new Tundra pickup is due in early 2007 .
  • Honda will launch three new crossovers (the CRV and Acura's RDX and MDX) this year.
  • Nissan has fresh versions of the Sentra and Altima sedans, along with the Versa and Infiniti's G35

Expect political pressure on the Japanese government to raise the value of the yen, but don't look for that to have a big impact on sales of their cars Stateside as long as Toyota et al can continue to surf a wave of successful product launches.

[Source: Reuters]