Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 10:12 UK

Suzuki boosted by sales in India

Suzuki SX4 Sport
Suzuki is now the second biggest carmaker in Japan behind Toyota

Suzuki Motors has avoided reporting a loss for the January to March quarter, helped by growth in India, but was downbeat about future sales.

The carmaker made a net profit of 5.8bn yen ($59m; £39m), during its fiscal fourth quarter, down 27% on a year ago.

Suzuki controls about half of the car market in India through its local unit Maruti Suzuki, which has seen sales rise for four months in a row.

The firm now expects global profits to fall 82% in its current financial year.

Suzuki predicts they will decline to 5bn yen due to the global slump in demand for new cars.

It also expects it will be affected by the continuing strong yen, which eats into its overseas earnings.

Indian boom

In India, Maruti's sales rose to 64,857 vehicles in April, helped by its bestselling Alto car and new models such as the A-Star and Swift DZire.

The rise in Indian sales contrasts with falling demand in the US, Europe and Japan, which Suzuki's rivals Toyota and Honda have been more exposed to.

On Friday Toyota said it forecast an annual loss of 550bn yen and expected to sell one million fewer cars this year.

Suzuki's revenues for the January to March period declined 27% to 670bn yen.

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