Tokyo: Suzuki Motor Corp. sharply raised its full-year profit forecast on Thursday, driven by strong sales at home and in India, its biggest market.

The maker of the Baleno compact hatchback and the Vitara Brezza compact SUV dominates the Indian market through its majority stake in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest automaker.

Sales in India, which accounts for roughly half of the car maker’s global vehicle sales, rose 19.% to 457,000 units during its second quarter ended in September.

In Japan, sales increased 6.2% to 160,000 units.

Suzuki said it now expects a full-year operating profit of 300 billion yen ($2.6 billion), up from the previous forecast of 240 billion yen. It compares with an average estimate of 327.5 billion yen in a poll of 22 analysts

Operating profit at Japan’s No. 4 automaker came in at 87.8 billion yen in July-September, up from 56.3 billion yen a year ago.

Strong sales of compact vehicles and SUVs bolstered Maruti’s operating profit during the second quarter. Last week, the Indian automaker reported an operating profit of Rs24.8 billion, up slightly on the year and exceeding analyst forecasts.

Suzuki Motor owns 56.2% of Maruti, and gets the bulk of its revenues from the Indian partnership, which has a market value of around $30 billion, higher than Suzuki’s market capitalization of about $20.5 billion.

It expects the US dollar to trade around 111 yen, and the rupee to trade around 1.7 yen in the year to March. Reuters

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