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Honda Motor Co. posted record consolidated sales and profits in the 2001 business year, the automaker said Friday.

Honda attributed the figures to strong demand for its automobiles in Japan and North America and the positive effects of the yen’s strength against the dollar and the euro.

In the year that ended March 31, Honda’s group sales climbed 13.9 percent, hitting a record 7.362 trillion yen.

Its consolidated pretax profits rose 43.2 percent to a record 551.3 billion yen, while its net profits jumped 56.2 percent to a record 362.7 billion yen.

Honda’s operating profits surged 57.1 percent, hitting a record 639.2 billion yen.

The firm sold 2.67 million cars globally, up 3.3 percent from last year, with sales increases in the Japanese and U.S. markets a major contributor in this regard.

Honda sold 6.1 million motorcycles across the globe, up 19.1 percent, performing particularly well in Asian, South American and North American markets.

For the current business year, Honda is projecting further record sales and profits.

It expects to generate group pretax profits of 700 billion yen on record sales of 8.1 trillion yen.

Honda also posted record sales in 2001 on an unconsolidated basis, with its profits rising for the first time in three years.

Honda’s parent-only pretax profits came to 218.9 billion yen, up 59.4 percent from a year earlier, boosted by record sales of 3.211 trillion yen, up 5.6 percent.

Its operating profits jumped 58.8 percent to 185.8 billion yen, while its net profits reached 134.9 billion yen during 2001, Honda said.

Vehicle exports down

Exports of cars, trucks and buses during fiscal 2001 declined 2.9 percent from a year earlier to 4,248,392 units, the first drop in two years, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said Friday.

Car exports in the year to March 31 totaled 3,641,333 units, down 2.7 percent from last year, and marking their first decline in three years. Truck exports continued to show decline for four consecutive years, coming to 561,991 units, down 5.1 percent from last year.

Bus exports meanwhile rose 6.1 percent to 45,068 units, the group said.

By region, auto exports to European Union markets declined 13.2 percent to 787,936, registering their third straight year of decline. Those to other parts of Asia also plunged, by 21.3 percent to 330,854 units, the first decline in three years.

Exports to the United States rose 1.6 percent to 1,672,583 units; the sixth consecutive year of increase, the group said.

On a value basis, exports of automobile and auto parts in fiscal 2001 dropped 5.2 percent from last year to $82.19 billion, the first decline in three years, JAMA said.

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