Honda Motor Co. logged a 6.6-percent hike in net profit in the quarter ended March 31, 2013 to JPY75.7 billion ($760.88 million), boosted by strong sales of its Accord and CR-V models in the United States as well by the drastic weakening of the Japanese yen. The yen has depreciated by around 14 percent against the dollar since the start of 2013, thereby helping carmakers offer cheaper export vehicles and convert overseas profits into yen at a more favorable rate. Honda posted a 5.5-percent surge in sales in the US in the quarter to 337,651 units, according to industry researcher Autodata Corp.
Honda executive vice president Tetsuo Iwamura remarked that the Japanese carmaker is targeting to surpass this year the US sales record it posted in 2007 at 1.55 million vehicles. Honda posted a 36-percent jump in US deliveries of its Accord best-seller in March 2013, outselling the Toyota Camry in the mid-size sedan segment.
Honda, however, saw its operating income from North America fell 65 percent to JPY29 billion in the quarter, thereby missing the JPY61.2 billion average analyst estimate. Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito is aiming for annual global car sales of 6 million units by end-March 2017, compared with a record 4.01 million in the previous fiscal year.
The Japanese carmaker is aiming to sell a record number of vehicles in 2013, as the weakening yen and growing demand in the US help it offset the declining sales in China, where consumers are boycotting Japanese products due to a current territorial row with Japan.