Honda's profit more than triples on sales growth, tax cut

By YURI KAGEYAMAIndustriesAssociated Press

Honda Motor Co.'s profit for the fiscal third quarter more than tripled from what it earned last year as its sales grew and profits got a perk from a U.S. tax cut, the Japanese automaker said Friday.

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Tokyo-based Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minivan and Asimo robot, reported October-December profit totaling 570.2 billion yen ($5.2 billion), up from 168.8 billion yen the previous year.

Quarterly sales grew 13 percent to 3.96 trillion yen ($36 billion).

Honda lifted its annual forecast through March to 1 trillion yen ($9 billion), up from 616.5 billion yen the previous fiscal year on continued sales growth and a favorable exchange rate.

Honda previously projected fiscal year profit of 585 billion yen ($5.3 billion).

Honda's results have been hammered by costs related to a massive recall of air bags made by Takata Corp.

Takata has been forced into bankruptcy. Although almost all the global automakers were affected by the Takata recalls, Honda had been among its biggest customers.

The worldwide death toll linked to the defective Takata air bags rose to 22 in January. Honda Malaysia said a person in that country died New Year's Day from a crash of a vehicle that had a faulty Takata air-bag inflator. The Honda vehicle had been sold and so the recall was not completed, the company said.

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