Nissan Motor Company held its 106th Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders at the "National Convention Hall of Yokohama" of Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama on June 21 (Tuesday), 2005. The meeting started with opening remarks and proceeded to the report on business results for fiscal year 2004. Following the reports on business a question and answer session was held. After all of the items had been voted, the meeting was closed at 12:53 p.m.
In fiscal year 2004, global sales came to 3,388,000 units, which exceeded our forecast of 3,380,000 units. This record level represents an increase of 10.8%, or 331,000 units, over fiscal year 2003, and is 281,000 units more than the previous record level set in 1990. In the past year, we released nine all-new models globally. Along with record sales, a global production record was also achieved, as Nissan's manufacturing plants produced 3,378,000 units.
We committed to achieve three main commitments through NISSAN 180, and already two of the plan's three critical commitments have been delivered. We committed to an 8% operating profit margin, and our margin has been at or above 10% for every year of NISSAN 180. We committed to zero debt, and today we have more than 200 billion yen in net cash under the new and more demanding accounting standards. Our only remaining commitment is the 1 million additional sales, which we are in a reasonably good shape.
We are assuming a relatively flat total industry volume of 61 million units globally. Nissan's sales are forecast to come to 3,618,000 units, which is a 6.8% increase over the prior year. Worldwide, we will launch six all-new models, leading to 20 regional product events. In Japan, we will launch five models, including the new Serena and the new Otti, a minicar supplied by Mitsubishi Motors that went on sale earlier this month. In Europe, we will launch the Micra convertible coupe. No new model launches are planned in North America this year. We will be preparing for the significant next wave of new products to come in 2006 and 2007.
The NISSAN Value-Up plan for fiscal years 2005 through 2007 plan has three critical commitments. First is our profit commitment: to maintain the top level of operating profit margin among global automakers for each of the three years of the plan. Operating profitability remains at the center of our management system, as a way of measuring our - or any - true business performance. Next is our volume commitment, which is to achieve global sales of 4.2 million units measured in fiscal year 2008. This represents an increase of 812,000 units over fiscal year 2004, which will become our reference year. The third commitment of NISSAN Value-Up is to achieve a 20% return on invested capital on average over the course of the plan, excluding cash on hand.
To build this plan, we made specific key assumptions for the next three years. We expect total industry volumes to reach 63 million units globally in fiscal year 2007, which is a reasonably conservative assumption. Our foreign exchange rate assumptions for the first year of the plan are 105 yen to the dollar and 130 yen to the euro. The last two years of the plan use a more severe assumption of 100 yen to the dollar and 120 yen to the euro.
NISSAN Value-Up will be supported by 28 new models. Of the 28 new models, 18 will be replacements for existing models, and 10 will be completely new, conquest models In order to implement NISSAN Value-Up, we will pursue four major breakthroughs. The first breakthrough is that our Infiniti luxury brand is going global as a Tier-1 luxury brand. The second breakthrough of NISSAN Value-Up focuses on Light Commercial Vehicles, or LCVs. Which during NISSAN Value-Up, volume will increase by 40% from the FY04 level to achieve 434,000 units in fiscal year 2007, and operating margin to double from 4% to target 8%. It is a necessity to extend our sourcing beyond Japan, North America and Europe as we expand our production bases in Thailand, China, Egypt and other countries. We plan to take a more efficient global sourcing approach to maximize the opportunities and to minimize our overall costs as we grow. Our global sourcing strategy is linked to the fourth breakthrough of NISSAN Value-Up, which is significant geographic expansion.
We have already started increasing Nissan's presence in markets such as China, Thailand, Gulf Countries, Egypt, Russia and Eastern Europe. We plan further expansion in new markets, such as India, Pakistan and others.
Working within the framework of the Alliance, Nissan is creating value in the global automotive industry - not merely for short-term gains, but also for the conditions needed to sustain long-term, profitable growth. In short, our company's business fundamentals and management are sound, which should enhance your confidence in the investments you are making. Nissan is the global automaker with the most transparent vision of the future, and we are the only one that has outlined a business plan and a globally competitive dividend policy with three years of visibility.
Our annual dividend has tripled over the past three years, from 8 yen per share to the current 24 yen per share. By the end of NISSAN Value-Up, our plan is to pay an annual dividend of no less than 40 yen per share, which is a 66% increase over the fiscal year 2004 level.
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