Honda maintains global forecast of selling 4.43 million vehicles image

Honda, Japan’s third-largest automobile manufacturer announced today that will keep its forecast of selling 4.43 million for the year ending in March 2014 (the full fiscal year), although it tweaked its foreign exchange assumptions for the year.

The announcement comes after Honda said net income fell 7 percent to 122.5 billion yen ($1.25 billion) in the three months ended June 30, from 131.7 billion yen a year earlier. Honda posted an operating profit of 185.0 billion yen (1.2 billion pounds) for its April-June first quarter, compared with 176.01 billion yen a year earlier.

“We understand your concerns. But we have high hopes for our new models,” Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura said at a news conference for the company’s earnings.

He said Honda’s redesigned Acura MDX sport-utility vehicle model, which was rolled out in late June, will meet growing demand for light trucks in the U.S., while its fully remodeled Fit compact and its corresponding SUV model will drive its global sales for the rest of 2013.

Honda, the fifth biggest carmaker in the United States, sold 745,578 vehicles there in the first half of the year, up 6 percent from the same period a year ago. The United States is Honda’s biggest market, accounting for about 40 percent of Honda’s global vehicle sales. Its market share shrunk 0.1 percentage point during the same period to 9.5 percent.

Most Japanese carmakers have benefited from the cheapening yen, which has fallen 11 percent against the dollar this year. A weaker yen increases the value of overseas earnings at Japanese companies when converted to the local currency.

In June, new vehicles sales in the United States rose 9 percent to 1.4 million, reaching an annual sales pace of 15.96 million vehicles, the strongest since November 2007.