• Kyodo, Bloomberg

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Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday its group net profit surged in the April-June quarter to ¥131.72 billion, better than four times the year before, boosted by brisk car sales in major global markets.

The automaker reported an operating profit of ¥176.01 billion, nearly eight times more than the previous year, on sales of ¥2.44 trillion, up 42.1 percent, indicating a recovery from the supply chain disruptions triggered by the earthquake and tsunami.

Honda sold 999,000 cars in the first quarter, up 59.8 percent, with North America accounting for 450,000 vehicles and Japan 185,000.

Referring to the robust sales in Japan amid a government subsidy program for promoting environmentally friendly vehicles, Honda Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura said there will be a backlash when the subsidy runs out, but he added he is more concerned about the country’s multiple taxes on automobiles.

“The basic problem the automakers face is the auto-related taxes,” he said. “We want the government to seriously consider abolishing those taxes.”

Honda did not revise its earnings outlook for the full business year ending next March, noting uncertainties regarding the course of the global economy amid Europe’s sovereign debt woes as well as the strong yen.

It forecasts a group net profit of ¥470 billion and an operating profit of ¥620 billion on sales of ¥10.3 trillion for the full year.

Honda said it plans a dividend of ¥76 for the full year, up from ¥60 last year.

In the first quarter, Honda’s U.S. sales gained 27 percent to 380,817 units. It increased its market share 0.9 percentage point to 10 percent in the same period, industry researcher Autodata Corp. said.

In Japan, the Honda N Box, on sale since December, was the most popular minicar model for the third straight month in June, according to the Japan Mini Vehicles Association.

The carmaker in July introduced a variant of the N Box to cater to increasing demand for more fuel-efficient models.

Honda boosted sales in China by 75 percent.

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