Honda quarterly profit more than doubles to $1.56 billion

Honda Motor Co. today said its October-December net profit more than doubled to 160.7 billion yen ($1.56 billion), back to pre-Lehman crisis levels, helped by strong sales of the redesigned Fit subcompact that went on sale in Japan in September.

Honda cut its vehicle sales forecasts for this fiscal year as slumping demand in Thailand overshadows what has otherwise been a golden year for Japanese corporate earnings, which have benefited from the weaker yen.

Honda lowered its full-year sales projections for vehicles and motorcycles by about 1 percent. The company now expects to deliver 4.385 million automobiles and 17.32 million motorcycles in the financial year ending March 31. It said it aims to sell a record 4.5 million vehicles or more in its 2014 financial year.

The slump in Thailand, where Honda saw deliveries plunge last quarter, will probably continue because of the political turmoil there, Honda said.

"Every Japanese carmaker was hurt in Thailand, and so was Honda," said Kota Yuzawa, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group in Tokyo. "Honda hasn't launched its new hit products in the region so we'll have to wait until next year to see a pickup in volumes."

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