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GLASS HALF EMPTY AT SUZUKI

Although the new fiscal year for Suzuki’s motorcycle business is a tale of recovery in all key parameters, it’s generally still on the back foot versus pre-Covid performance. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Set against disastrous results in the equivalent period last year, total quarterly revenue climbed by 64.8% to £375m. Within that, Asia staged a 204.7% rebound to £169m. Japan was 22% up to £40m. Europe finished 22.2% higher at £57m. Other markets added 73.7% to £65m. But North America declined by 20% to £44m. Associated operating profit amounted to £29m, recovering from an operating loss of £20m in Q1 2020. 

However, comparisons with Q1 2019 — before the pandemic struck — paint a rather different picture. Although profit improved substantially from just £15m two years earlier (attributed to the new Hayabusa among other big-inch models), revenue was actually 12.3% lower. Pretty much the same story played out in global sales volume calculations. Wholesales shipments worldwide increased by 32.3% to 363,000 bikes. But that tally was 20.3% down on 456,000 sold in Q1 2019. 

Breaking down latest volumetrics, Asian countries provided by far the largest slice of cake, bouncing back by 41.6% to 283,000. China, India and the Philippines were largest contributors, rising respectively by 23.2% to 116,000, 74.9% to 95,000 and 79.4% to 38,000. Japanese domestic sales were also pretty good, 28.3% up to 16,000.

Volume elsewhere in the developed world was disappointing. Europe grew by a mere 0.3% to 10,000, while North America plunged by 47.6% to 10,000. Other unspecified markets grew by 33.1% to 44,000.

According to Suzuki’s full-year forecast, it will have shifted 1.636 million bikes, a 6.6% improvement, by 31 March 2022. Asia is predicted to rise by 10.5% to 1.225 million of them. Europe, on the other hand, is scheduled to drop by 20% to 31,000. North America should sink by 39.1% to 28,000.

Yen-sterling translation at forex rates applicable on 11 August       

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