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Nissan had some not-so-good financial news to report today. Despite a 57-percent net income increase, Nissan was Japan's least-profitable carmaker for the third quarter of last year. A weak yen helped put the company's operating profit below the estimates of financial analysts. In a speech on the financial situation, Nissan corporate vice president Joji Tagawa said "These results, however, do not reflect the full potential of Nissan."

Honda Motor Co. surprised analysts yesterday by reporting a 4.3 percent drop in profits for the second quarter. Analysts had actually predicted a similar percentage gain for Japan's third largest automaker. Honda reported that its quarterly net profit was down as a result of finance-related losses, but then predicted that better year-end results could be expected due to the weak yen. Strong car sales in North America, India and China helped boost income 19 percent, but the brightest financial sp

At the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan on Thursday, Chrysler president and CEO Tom LaSorda said he plans to call on George W. Bush to confront Japan about an artificially low yen rate that he maintains unfairly allows Japanese automakers up to a $3,000 advantage per vehicle over their American counterparts. LaSorda said that he, Rick Wagoner and Bill Ford plan to raise this topic, along with health care and energy policy, with President Bush in a meeting scheduled for later