As it recovers more than a year after Japan was stricken by an earthquake and tsunami, Honda says that it expects strong growth in the U.S. For the fourth fiscal quarter from January to March 31 2012, Honda saw operating profits jump 65.7 percent year-over-year to 111.9 billion yen ($1.4 billion).
Much of that increase in profits was driven by strong motorcycle sales, and increased car sales in Japan and North America. But for the entire fiscal year, spanning April 1 2011 to March 31 2012, Honda saw operating profit decline 60.4 percent year-over-year, to just 211.4 billion yen ($2.6 billion). That drop was attributed to reduce car production in response to the Japanese natural disasters and later flooding in Thailand, as well as the rising value of the Japanese Yen hurting profits on export sales.
For the next fiscal year, which runs through March 31 2013, Honda predicts even stronger sales and earnings. The company expects profits to balloon to 620 billion yen ($7.7 billion) on the back of increasing car market share. Predicting annual industry sales of 14.3 million vehicles in the U.S. this year, Honda believes it can sell 1.74 million cars here in 2012. If so, that would represent a 31.5-percent growth over total annual sales of $1.15 million vehicles in 2011.
Honda hopes that it will reach a ten-percent market share in the U.S. this year. Part of that growth should come from launching a redesigned version of the Civic sedan and coupe. The move comes after the new-for-2012 model was widely panned by the American media, who accused the new car of being cheap and disappointing. The new Honda Accord, previewed as a coupe concept (pictured) at the Detroit auto show in January, also should help improve sales volumes when it debuts in fall 2012.
Sources: Reuters, Honda