The latest earnings from some of the world’s biggest carmakers suggested the industry may be past the worst of the slump.
Germany’s Daimler said it is expecting a gradual improvement in operating profitability this year. The group posted a loss before interest and taxes of one billion euros in the second quarter, better than analysts had predicted. Daimler also said it now has a better cash cushion than previously. France’s PSA Peugeot-Citroen made a net loss of 962 million euros in the first half of the year compared with a 733 million euro profit in the same period last year. But Europe’s second largest vehicle manufacturer said it too did not burn through as much cash as had been feared. Peugeot was downbeat on sales in the region believing they will not start to recover until the later part of next year. It believes the European market will shrink by about 12 percent this year with a seven percent drop in the second half of the year. Lower demand has slashed the profits of Japan’s Honda and Nissan, but at least they made a profit. At a Tokyo news conference, Honda’s Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo announced quarterly profit of 190 million euros, that was down 88 percent. He blamed a fall in US sales: “For us to post a bigger profit, it is essential to see a recovery in the North American market.” Nissan’s profit fell 86 percent to 86 million euros. Japan’s, and the world’s biggest car maker, Toyota will announce its second quarter earnings next Tuesday.