Suzuki Motor Corp. reportedly posted a 12% rise in first-quarter operating profit on Tuesday, benefiting from booming demand for minicars in Japan and robust sales in Asia.

According to Reuters, operating profit at Suzuki, owned one-fifth by General Motors and Japan’s fourth-biggest auto maker by stock value, was 27.51 billion yen ($US248.2 million) in the April-June quarter, while net profit jumped 31% to 16.56 billion yen.

Sales reportedly rose 2.1% to 587.29 billion yen, also driven by a 30% surge in European car sales and a 4.3% rise in domestic car sales, and that made up for a slump in motorcycle sales in Japan, Europe and North America.

Reuters noted that, last week, rival Daihatsu Motor also revealed rosy results and raised its full-year earnings forecasts citing brisk sales of the 660cc minivehicles at home.

After a double-digit jump in profits last year, Suzuki, known for its cost-cutting savvy, has forecast another record-breaking year fuelled by steady gains in the thriving Asian market, which accounts for about a fifth of its revenues, the report said.

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It kept its forecasts unchanged for 100 billion yen operating profit and 60 billion yen net profit, Reuters added.

The report noted that Suzuki’s biggest strength is in the fast-growing Indian market, where its Maruti 800, Alto 1000 and other models make up about half of the country’s cars through majority-owned Maruti Udyog, India’s biggest auto maker.

Driven by a 20% climb in sales and a rigorous cost-cutting programme in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, formerly state-owned Maruti Udyog last week reported a 42% rise in net profit during the quarter, Reuters said.