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 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 10:52 GMT
Suzuki set to increase output
President of Japans car and motorcycle maker Suzuki Masao Toda (at the wheels) and his successor Hiroshi Tsuda (L) introduce its new small car Twin in Tokyo, 22 January 2003
Outgoing president Toda shows Suzuki's latest model.
The Japanese motorbike and compact car maker Suzuki Motor has said it will increase output this year thanks to strong demand from China and the introduction of new models.

It said overseas output of motorbikes would jump 31% to 1.62 million, while domestic production will rise 17% to 484,000.

Suzuki added that it expected to produce about 1.8 million cars worldwide, an increase of 2% on 2002.

The firm also announced that president Masao Toda would step down in April due to poor health and would be replaced by Hiroshi Tsuda, who is currently in charge of the engineering unit.

Overseas gains

Motorcycle production is set to be boosted by strong demand from China, and the release of a new 50cc scooter called "Choinori".

The biggest overseas gains for cars will be made in India and China with production growth of 10%, chief executive and chairman Osamu Suzuki said.

Suzuki added it expected car sales in the domestic market to edge up 3% to 645,000 units, with most of that coming from compact cars, which have an engine size of between 660cc and 2,000cc.

Suzuki also announced it would begin selling General Motors' Trailblazer sport utility vehicle in February in 274 of its showrooms.

GM owns a 20% stake in the Japanese automaker, and by selling GM cars in their showrooms Suzuki hopes to attract a wider range of customers.

"We wanted a full line of cars, and asked GM if we could do this," Suzuki said.

New model

Suzuki also unveiled a new two-seater "Twin" car on Wednesday, the first minicar to offer a hybrid engine which can run on either petrol or electricity.

The model is expected to cost between 1.29m and 1.39m yen, while the standard petrol version will sell for between 490,000 and 840,000 yen.

Suzuki hopes to sell 200 "Twins" a month, although only about 10 are expected to be the hybrid version.

See also:

30 May 02 | Business
22 Mar 02 | Business
29 Aug 01 | Business
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