• Kyodo News

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Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday both its group net and operating profit in fiscal 2009 soared more than 90 percent on the back of strong sales in Asia and its cost-cutting efforts.

For the business year through March, Honda reported a net profit of ¥268.40 billion, up 95.9 percent, and an operating profit of ¥363.78 billion, up 91.8 percent, on sales of ¥8.58 trillion, down 14.3 percent.

Honda topped its earlier forecasts thanks to brisk demand for the new Step WGN minivan in Japan and strong motorcycle sales in India, Indonesia and Thailand.

For the 12-month period, Honda sold 3.39 million vehicles worldwide, down 3.6 percent from the year before, with the decline partially offset by a boost in demand in China, India and Brazil.

Sales in Japan rose 16.2 percent to 646,000 units on the back of government tax breaks and subsidies to promote the purchase of fuel-efficient cars.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects to sell 3.62 million units globally in fiscal 2010.

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