The weak yen and prolonged cost-cutting efforts are contributing to Mazda Motor Corp.’s forecasted profit rebound.

The Japanese auto maker reportedly has raised its group net profit outlook an astounding 554% to ¥8.5 billion ($65 million) for the fiscal year that ended March 31. Operating profits are forecast to reach ¥28 billion ($214 million), from ¥17 billion ($130 million) a year ago.

Such results would mark the most pronounced year-on-year turnaround in Mazda’s history. Chief Financial Officer Robert Shanks says the wave of success will continue into fiscal 2002, when profits will exceed the previous year’s due to several new product entries, including a remodeled Capella and new Demio.

Top officials at Mazda say the results show that the auto maker’s 5-year financial restructuring plan – with a heavy emphasis on cost-cutting – has taken root, although they acknowledge that the weak yen contributed heavily to the upward revision.

Other Japanese auto makers are expected to receive a similar boost from the weak yen, although perhaps not to the degree of Mazda, which, 34% owned by Ford Motor Co., is more dependent on exports than most others.

Despite the financial success, Mazda downwardly revised global sales to 948,000 vehicles from earlier projections of 950,000 vehicles.