Honda posts record ¥200 billion profit for quarter

by Hiroko Nakata

Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday that its group net profit for the third quarter of business 2007 jumped 38.1 percent from a year earlier to a record high ¥200 billion, backed by brisk sales in overseas markets.

Group sales for the October-December quarter rose 10 percent to ¥3.04 trillion, setting a record high in the quarter for an eighth consecutive year, the company said.

Group net profit and sales also hit record highs for the nine-month period from April to December, Honda said. Profit shot up 38.1 percent to ¥574.6 billion on sales of ¥8.95 trillion, up 11.9 percent.

Honda said overseas sales in the quarter jumped 11.5 percent from the previous year to 846,000 units, overwhelming a 7.1 percent drop in domestic sales to 145,000 units.

As for the U.S. subprime mortgage loan problem, Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo said its impact on U.S. auto sales has been limited so far. “It (the impact) depends on the product lines,” he told a news conference. “Sales of motorcycles started to decline rapidly after the Thanksgiving holiday. But as for four-wheel vehicles, sales held on, although they slowed down a bit.”

Honda lowered its forecast for group sales for the full year to March 31 to ¥12.15 trillion, down slightly from its previous forecast of ¥12.3 trillion. It is expecting a group net profit of ¥690 billion for the year.