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AKIPRESS.COM - Honda Motor Co. said Friday that its net profit surged in the January to March quarter as the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a last minute rush to buy cars before a sales tax took effect drove up sales in the long-stagnant Japanese market.
The maker of Fit subcompact hybrids and Vezel small sport-utility vehicles posted a Yen170.51 billion net profit in the three months ended March 31, up sharply from a Yen75.76 billion profit in the same quarter last year. Sales grew to Yen3.097 trillion from Yen2.744 trillion and its operating profit rose to Yen165.29 billion from Yen135.99 billion.
Honda was the first among Japan's big three auto makers to report its earnings results for the latest and the results bode well for rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., who are slated to release their results in early May, the Market Watch said Friday.
The company attributed the solid quarterly earnings to the introduction of new models and the launch of fully remodeled vehicles in China and Japan, which helped offset a decline in North American sales due to cold weather. Vehicle sales in Japan jumped 41% from a year earlier on a per unit basis in the three months before the nation" s consumption tax was raised to 8% from 5%.
Honda also cited strong motorcycle sales in Asia and the positive effects of a weakening in the yen as other factors behind the surge in its profit.
In its power products group, the company noted one positive byproduct of the cold wave that hit North America was that snowblower sales increased there.
Projecting that the company's global auto sales will rise to 3.87 million vehicles in current business year starting in April from 3.56 million vehicles, Honda said it expects that its net profit will rise by 3.6% to Yen595.00 billion as revenue grows 7.7% to Yen12.75 trillion.