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Daihatsu Motor Co. said Monday its consolidated net profit nearly tripled to 3.78 billion yen in the first half of fiscal 2003 from the previous year.

The minivehicle maker, based in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, attributed its first year-on-year increase in two years to cost-reduction efforts and the thriving sales of its Mira and Move minicars, which were fully redesigned about a year ago.

Its consolidated operating profit for the April-September period surged 85.6 percent from a year earlier to 8.6 billion yen, and consolidated pretax profit rose 45.4 percent to 8.43 billion yen.

Group sales rose 4.7 percent to 477.02 billion yen, also the first year-on-year increase in two years.

In terms of volume, Daihatsu’s global shipments rose 9 percent to 395,494 vehicles. Domestic sales jumped 11.2 percent to 240,513 units and overseas sales rose 6.9 percent to 109,284 units, thanks to increased sales in Indonesia and Malaysia, company officials said.

As a unit of the Toyota Motor Corp. group, Daihatsu makes vehicles sold under the Toyota brand. The sales volume of Toyota vehicles rose 3.2 percent to 45,697 units. Toyota holds a 51.2 percent stake in Daihatsu.

Daihatsu President Takaya Yamada said Daihatsu will maintain brisk minivehicle sales in the second half of fiscal 2003 by launching a new minicar in Japan next month.

Minivehicles are defined as vehicles with an engine displacement of 660cc or less.

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