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Auto blogTue, 30 Apr 2013 11:00:00 EST
Automotive News reports Mazda has posted its first annual profit in five years. The company made $364.3 million in the last fiscal year, following a $1.14 billion loss the year prior. Operating profit also jumped up by $91.3 million to $572.8 million, thanks in part to a revenue increase of 8 percent to $23.42 billion.
But the news isn't all rays of sunshine. North America continues to be a problem for Mazda where the automaker posted yet another loss. The manufacturer lost $519.1 million last year, up from $427.8 million the year prior. While the launch of the CX-5 helped see US sales increase by 2 percent to 273,000 vehicles, the region as a whole bought up 372,000 units. Mazda had predicted closer to 380,000 units.
Even so, Mazda says it should have North America back in the black by next year, with the company forecasting a sales increase of 11 percent to 415,000 units in the region. That's thanks in part to a boost from the redesigned Mazda6 sedan.
We're not trying to make a joke here. The creation you see above really is called the Bauer Catfish, and while the name is about as attractive as your average bottom feeder, the car itself is built on a sexy notion. Take the mechanical bits of one 1990-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata, add in a tube chassis for as little weight as possible, complete with some custom body work and go forth. Bauer says the finished product weighs in at just 1,550 pounds, and the company will be happy to pull the stock four-cylinder to drop in a healthy General Motors LS V8.
The pre-production prototype shown above competed in last year's 25 Hours of Thunderhill, finished the race and earned a spot on the podium in the "anything goes for sports racers" ESR class. Very cool.
If you're looking for a dedicated track car, it may not get any better than this for the money. Expect to pay around $13,900 depending on options, plus the cost of your donor Miata. That's a good sight cheaper than a used Chevy Corvette Z06 and likely to be quite a bit more fun. After you're done watching it in action in the brief videos below, check it out over at Bauer Ltd.
Automotive News reports Mazda is set to turn a profit for the first time in five years. The automaker is more dependent on exports from Japan than other automakers based in that country, and as a result, it has long suffered at the hands of a strong yen. But the currency has declined in value by some 16 percent over the past six months and Mazda's shares have tripled in value to their highest level since 2008. Contrast this situation to a year ago when Mazda printed 1.22 billion new shares to raise cash. The move was equivalent to 70 percent of the company's then-outstanding stock, and values tumbled to record lows as a result.
Now that the yen has fallen to a value of around 96 per dollar, Mazda operations in the US are more profitable and the company now projects it will earn around $279 million for the next fiscal year. Automotive News says a one yen change against the dollar can have a 9.1 percent impact on Mazda operating profit compared to 4.7 percent at Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries or 3.1 percent at Toyota. Those automakers better insulate themselves from currency fluctuations with overseas manufacturing facilities.