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Suzuki posts record profit on strong global car sales
SUZUKI Motor Corp on Thursday posted a record-high operating profit in the first quarter, outpacing expectations on the back of a strong rise in global vehicle sales, particularly in its biggest market India.
Operating profit at Japan's fourth-largest carmaker jumped 37 per cent to 116.5 billion yen (S$1.43 billion) for April-June, versus 85.1 billion yen a year earlier. The result was stronger than an average of 97.3 billion yen based on seven analyst estimates.
Vehicle sales jumped 26 per cent to 464,000 units in India, where the Swift subcompact, Baleno compact hatchback and Vitra Brezza compact sport utility vehicle are among the best-selling cars.
Suzuki accounts for roughly half the passenger vehicles sold in India through a majority stake in the country's largest vehicle maker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
Overall sales in Asia, which comprise roughly 65 per cent of global vehicles sales, rose 21 per cent to 570,000 units. At home, they rose 8.5 per cent to 173,000 units.
In the first quarter, higher steel prices increased the carmaker's raw materials costs, shaving 2.3 billion yen off operating profit.
Suzuki is on track to post record global vehicle sales of 3.3 million units for the year to March, but it is also anticipating a 9.1 per cent slide in global operating profit, as it ramps up R&D spending to develop new technologies such as electric vehicles to defend its dominance in India.
As rival Japanese vehicle makers brace for the possibility of US auto tariffs, Suzuki is shielded from such restrictions as it does not market cars in the United States. However, the carmaker said that it would be vigilant for any trickle-down impact such restrictions could have on other markets.
To protect its market share amid the rise of electric cars, Suzuki is partnering Toyota Motor Corp to leverage Toyota's firepower to help it develop and market EVs in India.
The two carmakers have also agreed to produce cars for each other in India as Toyota aims to increase its market share in the country. REUTERS