Honda's profit quadruples on disaster recovery

AP News
Posted: Jul 31, 2012 5:08 AM
Honda's profit quadruples on disaster recovery

TOKYO (AP) — Honda's quarterly profit quadrupled to 131.7 billion yen ($1.7 billion) as the Japanese automaker bounced back from last year's natural disasters with more vehicles sold across all key regions except for Europe.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co., which makes the Fit subcompact, Odyssey minivan and Asimo walking robot, said Tuesday its April-June quarter sales surged 42 percent to 2.44 trillion yen ($31.2 billion).

Vehicle sales doubled in the key markets of Japan and North America but were weak in Europe where austerity measures to tackle the region's debt crisis have crimped demand. Honda reported global sales of 849,000 vehicles for the quarter, up from 458,000 a year earlier.

The earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan and the flooding in Thailand last year disrupted parts supplies and production for all Japanese automakers. Honda's profit for the April-June period last year was 31.7 billion yen.

But the Japanese automakers are making a comeback. Toyota Motor Corp., which reports earnings Friday, regained its crown as the world's biggest selling automaker from General Motors Co. in the first half of the year.

Honda stuck to its forecast of 470 billion yen ($6 billion) profit for the fiscal year through March 2013. That would be more than double what it earned last fiscal year. It expects to sell 4.3 million vehicles for the fiscal year, up by more than a million vehicles from 3.1 million vehicles for last year.

Mazda Motor Corp. on Tuesday said its losses for the April-June quarter shrank to 6.5 billion yen ($83.3 million) from the 25.5 billion yen of red ink it reported a year earlier.

Last week, Nissan reported a 72.3 billion yen ($900 million) profit, down 15 percent, hammered by the damage from the strong yen, which erodes the value of its overseas earnings.

But Nissan's worldwide sales rose 2.6 percent, and it remained upbeat, raising its earnings forecast for this fiscal year to a 400 billion yen ($5 billion) profit from 290 billion yen ($3.6 billion).

Honda got a perk from its motorcycle division, selling nearly 2.4 million motorcycles in the quarter, up 21 percent from 1.9 million motorcycles a year earlier.

Overall sales revenue in Japan jumped 61 percent and 66 percent in North American. Sales revenue was up 37 percent in Asia excluding Japan. The only region where Honda's revenue fell was in Europe, by 2 percent.

Honda shares closed up 2.1 percent at 2,551 yen in Tokyo. Results were released after the close of stock trading.


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