By YURI KAGEYAMA
Japanese automaker Honda’s profit rose 3.5% in the October-December quarter from a year earlier on the back of solid demand in the U.S. and Europe and a recovery in its home market, the company said Thursday.
Tokyo-based Honda Motor Corp’s profit in the last quarter was 253.3 billion yen. Quarterly sales jumped 21% to 5.39 trillion yen.
A favorable exchange rate helped amplify Honda’s overseas profits in yen terms and is expected to continue through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in March.
The dollar has been trading at about 148 Japanese yen, up from about 140 yen last year.
All the automakers have been hurt by shortages of computer chips and other parts, partly due to disruptions in manufacturing because of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest results show Honda has mostly but not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels in some locations.
Honda’s motorcycle sales grew in recent months in Brazil and Europe, according to the manufacturer of the Fit small car, Super Cub motorcycle and Asimo robot.
Honda said it remained committed to “initiatives toward electrification,” pointing to the global electric vehicle concept models shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, such as the Saloon and Space Hub.
Japanese automakers including Honda have lagged in the global push toward pure EVs, partly because of their strength in other green models such as hybrids and fuel cells.
Over the first nine months of the fiscal year, Honda sold 3.1 million vehicles, up from 2.7 million vehicles the previous year, with sales especially strong in the U.S.
A decline in Honda’s vehicle sales in Thailand and Indonesia was offset by rising sales in China.
For the full fiscal year through March, Honda is projecting a 960 billion yen profit, up from an earlier forecast for a 930 billion yen, and surpassing the 651 billion yen earned the year before.
Nissan’s profit sinks
Nissan’s profit sank in October-December to about half of what it earned the year before, the automaker said Thursday, though it stuck to its earlier earnings forecasts.
Nissan Motor Co., based in the port city of Yokohama, reported its profit was 29 billion yen in the last quarter, down from 50.6 billion yen a year earlier.
Quarterly sales jumped nearly 10% to 3.1 trillion yen for the maker of the Leaf electric car, Infiniti luxury models and Z sportscars.
Market conditions were especially difficult in China, Stephen Ma, Nissan’s chief financial officer, told reporters. The Chinese auto market remains intensely competitive amid a price war between manufacturers, dominated by locals like BYD, with its strong EV offerings.
Nissan’s vehicle sales in China plunged 35% in April-December from the previous year. Nissan sales rose about 30% in the U.S. from a year earlier, helping to offset the China woes.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year that ends in March, Nissan’s global sales rose 22% to 9.17 trillion yen.
Nissan kept unchanged its annual projection for a 390 billion yen profit on 13 trillion yen in sales.
Nissan expects to sell 3.55 million vehicles globally for the year through March, down from an earlier projection of 3.7 million vehicles. That’s still better than the 3.3 million vehicles Nissan sold the year before.
By region, Nissan expects vehicle sales to grow in the U.S., Japan and Europe, but not in China.