Honda revs up its performance

HONDA reversed from a first-quarter loss last year to a profit in the past three months as booming demand in China and India combined with a fledgling US recovery to boost car sales.

The Japanese car maker posted a 72 billion (505 million) profit, with quarterly sales surging 28 per cent year-on-year to 2.28 trillion.

Honda – whose models include the Accord, Civic and Jazz – sold 874,000 vehicles for the fiscal fourth quarter, up 28.5 per cent from 680,000 in the final quarter of the previous year.

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The company's better fortunes mirror similar recoveries at other Japanese car makers, whose results had been battered the previous year by the financial crisis.

Honda's sales in Japan recovered, helped by tax breaks for "green" models and brisk demand for smaller models, the company said.

For the financial year ended 31 March, Honda reported a 96 per cent rise in profit to 268.4bn.

Sales of 8.58tn were down 14 per cent on the previous year.

Honda is expecting better results for the fiscal year through 31 March, 2011, forecasting 340bn in profit, up 27 per cent from the fiscal year just ended.

Sales are projected to climb 9 per cent to 9.34tn.

The car maker is targeting sales of 3.6 million vehicles for the current financial year, up nearly 7 per cent from 3.4 million last year.