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Honda’s profit rises despite pandemic damage

TO KYO, Japan (AP) – Honda reported yesterday that its fiscal third-quarter profit more than doubled to ¥284 billion (US$2.7 billion) despite the novel coronavirus pandemic as auto sales grew in Japan and the US.

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Corporation had reported a ¥116-billion profit for October-December a year earlier.

Honda’s quarterly sales inched up less than one per cent to ¥3.7 trillion (US$35 billion).

Cost cuts also helped boost Honda’s bottom line, despite difficulties caused by the pandemic, including computer chip shortages, according to Tokyo-based Honda.

The maker of the Accord sedan, CR-V crossover and Asimo robot said it carried out a major review of its operations to streamline expenses.

Honda said its motorcycle sales slipped in the three months through December to about 3 million motorcycles from 3.1 million units a year ago.

Auto sales held up, increasing slightly to 809,000 vehicles from 808,000 vehicles.

Honda raised its profit forecast for the year through March to 465 billion yen (US$4.4 billion), up from the previous projection for a ¥390-billion (US$3.7 billion) profit.

The latest forecast is also better than the ¥456-billion profit Honda earned the previous fiscal year.

But Honda warned the outlook remains uncertain because the impact from COVID-19 was still unclear.

Japanese rivals Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor corporations also reported earnings this week.

The pandemic has affected industries, companies and regions differently – mostly negatively.

But some companies, including Honda, have proved resilient, holding better than others.