Rogue, Outlander shine as alliance heroes

TOKYO — The redesigned Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander, hot-selling crossover stablemates recently rolled out by the Japanese partners, are helping the two troubled automakers bounce back to profitability with improved brand positioning and brighter financial outlooks.

Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. each jumped back into the black in the latest quarter, erasing year-earlier operating losses as the hero nameplates buoyed U.S. sales.

The new offerings, which share substantial platform and drivetrain elements, saw booming demand in the companies’ fiscal first quarter ended June 30. Surging sales helped the brands, both known for their down-market positioning in recent years, rein in incentives and boost value.

U.S. sales of the Rogue, introduced late last year, more than doubled in the April-June quarter, while deliveries of the Outlander, released in April, also more than doubled in the period.

The upswing helped validate the oft-repeated mantra at Nissan and Mitsubishi that a wave of new products will eventually rekindle their flagging fortunes. Both companies are in the middle of restructuring plans but saw enough improvement to lift their outlooks.

Nissan, coming off two straight years of annual operating losses, said it now forecasts a ¥150 billion ($1.37 billion) operating profit in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. Nissan had expected to break even.

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