Despite slumping sales in China, the world’s largest automotive market, Honda Motor Co. managed to eke out a 6% increase in earnings for the January-March quarter – largely because the year-ago numbers were still impacted by production cuts from a series of natural disasters.
The maker also benefited from the weakening yen, and Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said he anticipates doing even better in the months ahead as exchange rates shift, reducing the penalty on Japanese-made goods.
That was also good news for smaller rival Mazda which crept back into the black for the first time in five years — but in Korea, Kia reported Friday that a bitter labor dispute resulted in a big drop in its earnings.
Honda earned 75.7 billion yen, or $765 million, during the final quarter of its fiscal year, compared with 71.5 billion during the same period in 2012. For the full fiscal year, which ended on March 31, earnings soared 73.6% to 367.15 billion yen, or $3.7 billion. Its operating profit, meanwhile, climbed to 544.8 billion yen, up 135.5%.