Japanese auto giant Nissan said Friday that its annual net profit came in nearly flat from a year earlier but added it was on track for a better result in the current fiscal year. The company, part-owned by France\'s Renault, posted earnings of 342.4 billion yen ($3.4 billion) on sales of 9.63 trillion yen for the fiscal year ended in March. Japan\'s number-two automaker -- which posted a slightly lower 341.43 billion yen net profit a year earlier -- said it expected earnings to rise almost 23 percent to 420 billion yen this year. Global vehicle sales in the past fiscal year reached a record-high of 4.91 million units, up 1.4 percent on-year, it said. A weakening yen has helped make Japan\'s exporters more competitive overseas and inflated the value of their foreign income, while Nissan also pointed to new model launches for its sales rise. \"Fiscal 2012 was marked by both successes and challenges for Nissan,\" Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said in a statement. \"We ended the year with a sound balance sheet, record global sales, an improved brand, and an expanded presence in critical growth markets.\" However Nissan\'s heavy exposure to China, the world\'s biggest vehicle market, and recession-hit Europe dented sales. Japan\'s automakers have suffered from a diplomatic row between Tokyo and Beijing that sparked huge riots across China and a damaging consumer boycott of Japanese brands.