Subaru quarterly profit climbs 48% on strong U.S. sales

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TOKYO — Subaru Corp. reported a 48 percent increase in first-quarter operating profit on Monday as global sales grew, led by demand for the Ascent and Forester crossovers in the United States.

The smallest of Japan’s major automakers posted operating income of 92.2 billion yen ($869 million) for the April-June period, versus 62.1 billion yen ($585 million) a year earlier and an average estimate of 65.6 billion yen from eight analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The maker of Legacy sedans and Forester crossovers maintained its forecast for operating income at 260 billion yen ($2.4 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2020, up 45 percent from a year earlier.

The previous fiscal year was marred by a string of recalls, production stoppages and inspection improprieties that cut the automaker’s earnings in half.

Subaru reiterated its annual forecast for global sales of 1.06 million vehicles. In July, Subaru extended its streak of year-over-year monthly sales gains in the U.S. to 92 with a 7.9 percent rise in volume.

The automaker also left unchanged its assumption that the yen will average 110 against the dollar over the course of the fiscal year, versus 111 last year. A stronger currency eats into profits because cars exported from Japan become more expensive and the value of earnings made overseas decreases.

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