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Suzuki Motor Corp. scored record sales on a consolidated basis for fiscal 1999, but its group pretax profits fell due the strengthening of the yen, company executives announced Wednesday.

The Shizuoka Prefecture-based company’s group sales rose 4.5 percent from the previous year to 1.52 trillion yen, due to increased minivehicle sales. But consolidated pretax profits dropped 9.1 percent to 49.6 billion yen because of the yen’s appreciation, they said.

Consolidated operating profits also dipped, by 9.9 percent, to 42.6 billion yen. But, consolidated net profits rose 10.4 percent to 26.9 billion yen.

In terms of volume, Suzuki, Japan’s No. 1 minicar maker, reported record minicar sales of 582,000 vehicles for fiscal 1999, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier.

Suzuki’s group car sales rose 5.2 percent from the previous year to 851,000 vehicles, but motorcycle sales dropped 17.8 percent to 446,000 units.

On an unconsolidated basis, Suzuki’s pretax profits decreased 7.6 percent from the previous year to 26.1 billion yen, and sales hit 1.27 trillion yen, up 7.1 percent.

Operating profits dropped 10.7 percent to 27.1 billion yen but net profits increased 43.9 percent to 12.7 billion yen.

The company projects consolidated pretax profits of 47 billion yen and group sales of 1.55 trillion yen for fiscal 2000. On an unconsolidated basis, it forecasts pretax profits of 26 billion yen and sales of 1.28 trillion yen.

New president named

Suzuki Motor Corp. announced Wednesday that Masao Toda, executive vice president, will take over the presidency in late June from Osamu Suzuki, who has served as president for 22 years.

Toda, 65, who will also become chief operating officer, will be the first president from outside the founding family of Suzuki Motor, established in 1920.

Suzuki, 70, will become the chairman and continue to serve as chief executive officer.

The change is to be approved at a board meeting after its annual general meeting of shareholders scheduled for June 29, company officials said.

Osamu Suzuki helped nurture the company from a domestic motorcycle maker to an international minivehicle maker by forming capital and business tieups with foreign automakers and expanding its foothold in other parts of Asia.