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Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday that it logged a record consolidated net profit of 597.03 billion yen on record sales of 9.91 trillion yen for the business year that ended March 31, thanks to strong auto sales in North America and Europe.

Group sales jumped 14.5 percent from the previous year to reset its record for a sixth consecutive year, while net profit surged 22.8 percent. Operating profit climbed 37.7 percent to 868.9 billion yen.

Company officials said that in addition to strong sales and a weaker, yen the robust figures were helped by a massive one-time gain stemming from a change in its employee pension operations.

Overall sales of automobiles during the reporting year reached 3.391 million units, up 4.6 percent from the previous year for the seventh consecutive year of gain, due to strong overseas sales of the remodeled Civic and other vehicles.

At the same time, however, Honda said domestic auto sales fell 2.2 percent to 696,000 units, while overall sales of motorbikes declined 2 percent to 10.27 million units.

Honda officials said they expect consolidated sales to grow 7 percent to 10.6 trillion yen for the current business year, but predicted that operating profit will drop 13.7 percent to 750 billion yen, and net profit will fall 7.9 percent to 550 billion yen.

For the January to March quarter, consolidated sales came to a record 2.833 trillion yen, due to brisk auto sales in North America and Asia, while both operating profit and net profit reached records of 340.8 billion yen and 219.5 billion yen, respectively, the automaker said.

Daihatsu delighted

Staff report

Daihatsu Motor Co. said Wednesday that group sales rose 14.6 percent to 1.35 trillion yen for the business year to March 31, helped by brisk sales of minicars both in Japan and other Asian markets.

While pretax profit rose 27.2 percent to 50.3 billion yen, net profit surged 29.6 percent to 33.5 billion yen.

A record 550,738 minivehicles were sold in Japan in the reporting year, and Daihatsu’s domestic market share exceeded 30 percent for the second straight year due to strong sales of vehicles, including the Move and the Tanto, officials said.

In Asia, sales surged 55.7 percent to 248.2 billion yen and operating profit jumped 48.3 percent to 2.8 billion yen, with a new vehicle launched in Malaysia selling well.

The company expects sales to grow 14.2 percent to 1.54 trillion yen for the current business year, but pretax profit to fall 3.7 percent to 48.5 billion yen and net profit to drop 15.0 percent to 28.5 billion yen, they said.