Toyota (TM) and Nissan (NSANY)  may need to use the new era of electric and self-driving cars to re-start earnings amid a surging yen and fickle global demand as the Japanese auto giants rev-up Q2 earnings reports next week. 

In fact, investors way wish to look at R&D investment spending in order to separate the pair from traditional global rivals such as Ford (F) and Daimler (DDAIY)  and newcomers such as Telsa Motors (TSLA) . 

A consensus of 22 analysts compiled by FactSet shows that Nissan is expected to report second quarter net profit of ¥125 billion (¥960 million) on sales of ¥2.8 trillion Monday, down from year-earlier figures of ¥173 billion and ¥3.03 trillion, respectively.

Nissan has come far since CEO Carlos Ghosn swept in just before the turn of the millennium.

During his 17-year tenure, which kicked off with the introduction of a so-called "Nissan Revival Plan" involving more than 20,000 job cuts and halving the number of subcontractors, the automaker has soared from an annual net loss close to ¥700 billion to a net profit of ¥523 billion.

Now, the company is in a position to rescue others. Last month, Nissan said it would acquire just over a third of Mitsubishi Motor (MSBHY) to become its largest shareholder, after the Tokyo-based rival became mired in an emissions data rigging scandal similar to Volkswagen's (VLKAY) .

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