TOKYO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Honda Motor Co. announced Tuesday its group net profit in the April-June quarter jumped 19.6 percent from a year earlier to 146.51 billion yen (1.44 billion U.S. dollars), owing to global rollouts of new models and a comparatively weak yen versus its major counterparts.
Japan's third-largest carmaker also said that its consolidated operating profit accelerated 7.1 percent in the quarter to 198.04 billion yen on sales of 2.98 trillion yen, an increase of 5.4 percent compared to the same time a year earlier.
The Tokyo-based automaker said that the weaker yen versus the U. S. dollar aided the firm to augment its overseas earnings on favorable exchange rates and increased its competitiveness.
Honda Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura told a news conference earlier Tuesday that global sales had been boosted by the introduction of new and fully renovated models.
"Global four-wheel vehicle sales increased 6.2 percent from a year before to 1.06 million units thanks to solid demand in Japan and other parts of Asia due to the effects of the introduction of new and fully renovated models," Iwamura said.
Sales in Japan increased by 44.3 percent to 202,000 vehicles owing to brisk sales of Honda's new Vezel subcompact crossover SUV, and the newly remodeled subcompact Fit, which attracted buying after the April 1 consumption tax hike, from 5 to 8 percent, quashed sales of large ticket items like automobiles.
Iwamura said that initially the sales tax hike saw orders in Japan drop by 20 percent in April compared to the same time a year earlier, but gradually customers returned, with sales logging declines of just 5 percent in May and 2 percent in June.
Honda's executive vice president added that he believes that sales figures in Japan would return to last year's level following the summer period.
In North America, Honda's biggest group wide market, sales dipped 3.1 percent in the quarter, from the same period a year earlier, to 445,000 vehicles, owing partly to a delay in deliveries of Fit models due to snarl- up at its new factory in Mexico.
Honda's North American operating profit in the quarter totaled 67.5 billion yen, compared to 71.9 billion yen for the same period a year earlier, the automaker said.
In Asian markets, excluding Japan, Honda's operating profit leapt 21 percent to 65.3 billion yen, as emerging economies like India and Indonesia saw robust sales of new models.
Vehicle sales in Asia increased 10.9 percent to 316,000 vehicles, Honda said, with the launch of the popular Crider mid- sized sedan in China propping up the figure.
In India, sales surged 40 percent in the quarter totaling 40, 000 units, helped by brisk sales of diesel versions of its latest generation of City and Amaze, the latter of which is India's leading diesel car, the automaker said.
Honda's Indonesian market saw a 68 percent surge in sales to more than 80,000 units, for the first half of the year, owing to the popularity of the Mobilio seven-seater mini MPV that is backed by the government's subsidy program for cost efficient, eco- friendly technology.
For the full business year ending next March, Honda raised its group net profit outlook to 600 billion yen, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, on an assumption that the dollar will average around 101 yen and the euro 136 yen over the year.
Honda also said its full-year operating profit for the current business year is now projected to rise 2.6 percent to 770 billion yen, on sales of 12.8 trillion yen, an increase of 8.1 percent on earlier projections.