Backed by strong sales of its cars in Japan and major overseas markets, Honda Motor Co. posted record-high consolidated net sales of 5.29 trillion yen in the 1996 business year, up 24.5 percent from the previous year, the automaker announced May 20.

Honda’s consolidated pretax profit for the business year that ended in March jumped 239.4 percent to 390.7 billion yen, and its consolidated operating income also rose 179.5 percent to 401.4 billion yen. The increase in the revenue was also attributed to the depreciation of the yen, which averaged 112.70 yen against the dollar during the business year — 14.4 percent lower than the previous year. Honda said the yen’s fall increased the firm’s earnings by 125 billion yen.

Honda Motor also announced that Executive Vice President Yoshihide Munekuni will become the chairman of the company in a move to strengthen the company’s public relations. The post has been vacant since June 1993. Nobuhiko Kawamoto will remain president of the company.

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