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SUZUKI: DIFFERENT DIRECTION

Having comprehensively abandoned motorcycle sports participation at a corporate level, from MotoGP downwards, and consigned the last apparition of its iconic GSX-R1000 superbike to the dustbin of history, Suzuki Motor Corporation is now destined to becoming a very different sort of company, we are told. How different is yet to be discerned. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Half-yearly results to the end of September offer just a few small clues. Suzuki’s motorcycle business did rather well, considering a plethora of current economic challenges. For the six months in question, revenue jumped by 47.8% to £1.056bn. Operating profit from bikes went ballistic, 121.7% up to £92m.

The biggest chunk of turnover, though, was a 50.3% rise to £514m from Asian countries. Europe contributed just £124m, albeit 29.4% up. The message surely was mobility products are digging the company out of a hole, rather than enthusiast fodder.

Production and sales volume support this thesis. In the first half, Suzuki made and shipped 969,000 bikes, a 12.9% increase. Global sales recovered by 22.9% to 960,000. Some 787,000 of them were sold in Asia, improving by 27.5%. Biggest market was India, rising by 35.7% to 350,000. China added 10.2% at 245,000. The Philippines were 37.2% higher on 99,000. European sales, meanwhile, were 0.4% down to about 18,000.

Pertinently, the results presentation page upon which volume data appeared also hailed the world premiere of a new luxury Burgman Street 125EX scooter, to join new Address and Avenis 125 scooters in Europe next spring. No mention appeared for new GSX-8S and V-Strom 800 DE leisure prospects, sharing all-new 776cc parallel twin motors and launched for European consumption next year too. Obviously less important.

Yen-Sterling currency translation at forex rates applicable on 9 November  

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