Suzuki’s first-half income up 27.5%

Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. says increased automobile sales brought the company record sales and profits for the first half of its fiscal year.
Suzuki net income for the six months ended Sept. 30 was 39.5 billion yen ($337.7 million) or 81.48 yen a share, up 27.5 percent from 30.9 billion yen or 56.86 yen per share during the same period last year. Sales jumped 16.4 percent to 1.48 trillion yen.
Suzuki officials said they expect the year ending March 31, 2007, to signify a fourth consecutive period of record profit. The company expects year-end sales to be about 3 trillion yen ($25.4 billion), up from a previous forecast of 2.8 trillion yen, and thus raised forecasted full-year net income from 66 billion yen ($560 million) to 72 billion yen.
Suzuki consolidated net sales for the year ended March 31, 2006 were 2.75 trillion yen ($23.3 billion), up 116.1 percent compared to prior-year sales. Net income was up 109 percent to 65.95 billion yen ($560 million).
Suzuki’s automobile sales rose 7.2 percent in the first half, driven by an 11 percent gain in overseas business, and the company says it is on target to achieve record sales for the year ending March 31, 2007.
Last year, Suzuki had global auto sales of 2.12 trillion yen ($18 billion), up 115 percent compared to the prior year. Unit sales grew 109 percent to 2.067 million units and production grew 109 percent to 2.2 million units. In North America, sales were up 119 percent to 89,000 units.
To meet ongoing global demand, the company plans to decrease production of low-margin 660cc mini-vehicles to expand production of larger compact cars, construct further production facilities in Hungary, India and Pakistan, and expand its model lineup by obtaining larger vehicles, such as minivans and pickup trucks, from Nissan Motor Co. and other OEMs.
Suzuki’s net sales from its motorcycle operation climbed 122 percent to 561.31 billion yen ($4.7 billion) for the year ended March 31. Global motorcycle and ATV sales grew 105 percent to 3.06 million units as production increased 106 percent to 3.14 million units.
The company said it planned to cultivate its lucrative North American motorcycle operation this year by introducing new units that compliment the company’s race activities and reflect an image of “sporty, young and unique.”

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