A tale of 2 Japs

Aug 2 | Updated: Aug 3 2005, 05:30am hrs
Suzuki Motor Corp, the worlds largest maker of mini vehicles, said profit rose to the highest in nine quarters because it sold more motorcycles in Southeast Asia and WagonR minicars in India.

Net income rose 1.2% to 16.8 billion yen ($150 million) in the first quarter ended June from last years 16.6 billion yen, the Hamamatsu City, Japan-based company said.

Sales gained 8.6% to 637.9 billion yen in the period. Suzuki, 20% owned by General Motors Corp., plans to increase capital spending by 71% this fiscal year to build and expand factories, as record gasoline prices spurred demand for vehicles with engine capacity smaller than 0.66 liter.

Meanwhile, Japanese its peer Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which has received 1 trillion yen ($8.9 billion) in bailouts since last May, posted its ninth consecutive quarterly loss as cover-ups of vehicle defects and a lack of new models deterred customers.

The loss narrowed to 21.6 billion yen ($193.5 million) in the three months ended June 30 from a loss of 54.7 billion yen the year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said in a release today. Sales fell 13% to 485.8 billion yen from 557.6 billion yen.

President Osamu Masuko, 56, is trying to return the company to profit in the year starting April, 2006 by bringing out new models and producing cars to be sold by other companies.