HONDA Motor Co, Japan's third-largest carmaker, reported second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' estimates amid slowing motorcycle sales and demand in Southeast Asia.
Net income climbed 46 per cent to 120.4 billion yen (RM3.8 billion) in the three months ended September 30, compared with 82.2 billion yen a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday. That trailed the 139 billion yen average of seven analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The company maintained its full-year profit forecast for 580 billion yen.
Honda, the world's largest motorcycle maker, reported quarterly two-wheeler sales in Southeast Asia that were little changed from a year earlier. Vehicle deliveries in Thailand, the carmaker's largest market in the region, fell 22 per cent in the July-September period as government incentives ended.
"The motorcycle business hasn't expanded as the company expected," said Satoru Takada, an auto analyst with Toward the Infinite World Inc. "If there's any concern for Honda in the second half, it will be the motorcycle business and the economic slowdown in Southeast Asia."
Honda shares rose 1.3 per cent to close at 3,965 yen in Tokyo trading before it reported results.
Honda is among Japanese exporters benefiting from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policies, which have helped weaken the country's currency. A weaker yen increases the value of repatriated earnings and is giving Japanese carmakers an edge over rivals including General Motors Co and Hyundai Motor Co.
The yen has fallen about 12 per cent against the dollar in 2013, creating a tailwind for Japanese brands as they face the most competitive lineup of vehicles in a generation from US carmakers GM, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group LLC.
Honda deliveries in the US, its biggest market, gained 13 per cent in the July-September quarter, according to the company. Sales were boosted by the Civic compact, the best-selling small car this year whose deliveries rose 8.8 per cent and the Accord sedan, which increased 14 per cent this year.
The carmaker managed to keep incentives low even as sales expanded. The average incentive spending per vehicle fell 30 per cent to US$1,611 in the first nine months of this year, the lowest level among the six biggest car manufacturers in the US, market researcher Autodata. Bloomberg