Suzuki Motor Corporation survived tough business conditions to end the financial year through 31 March 2009 in the black.
A market slowdown in Europe and North America and the effects of a strong yen amid the global financial crisis meant that Suzuki was unable to extend the nine-year run of sales growth that it enjoyed until March 2008; sales slipped by 14.2% on the year to ¥3,005 billion. The decrease in sales and an increase in the cost of materials were only partly offset by cost-cutting efforts, but Suzuki succeeded to post an operating profit of ¥76.93 billion.
In North America, the credit crunch and general economic weakness dragged sales amount down by 44.4% on the year. In Europe, the recession and the effects of a strong yen pulled sales amount down by 20.4% on the year. The strong yen also impacted sales amount in Suzuki’s export markets in Asia, dragging it down by 11.1% on the year. Sales amount in Japan was down 16.9% on the year. Two key factors enabled Suzuki to remain in the black at the consolidated level despite the fall in sales and earnings in major markets. One was solid domestic sales of minivehicles, with which Suzuki is one of the market leaders. The other was stability in the Indian market, where Suzuki has been building a strong presence for a quarter of a century.
Automobiles accounted for ¥2.52 trillion of Suzuki’s overall sales amount (down 10.9% on the year). Motorcycles accounted for ¥454 billion (down 23.2% on the year).
Suzuki’s automobile sales volume in Japan decreased by 1.2% on the year to 665 thousand units. Its automobile sales volume overseas fell by 5.3% on the year to 1,641 thousand units. On a worldwide basis, automobile sales volume fell by 4.1% on the year to 2,306 thousand units. Still, Suzuki reacted early to the economic crisis and inevitable hesitance from the buying public, adjusting production to match demand; it reduced global automobile production by 5.4% (2,494 thousand vehicles) on the year.
On the motorcycle side, sales and earnings were down on the year owing to a drop in selling large-displacement models. However, worldwide sales volume rose by 0.2% on the year to 3,351 thousand units.
Although Suzuki does not expect an immediate market recovery, it aims to remain in the black by means of various companywide reforms in the business year through 31 March 2010. Suzuki’s preliminary forecasts are net sales of ¥2.3 trillion yen and a net profit of ¥5 billion.
Suzuki has more than 50,600 staff (nearly 400 more than a year ago) working in the sectors that include automobiles, motorcycles and outboard motors. With business activities in 196 countries and regions and production bases in 23 countries and regions, Suzuki is in a strong position to deal with difficult market conditions.