Honda Plans to Increase Global Sales by 15% This Year image

Honda plans to increase sales by 15% to 4.40 million units this year, from 3.82 million in 2011.

Honda, which is Japan’s third largest automaker, plans to sell 4.40 million vehicles globally and 750,000 vehicles in China this year, up from 604,000 vehicles sold last year, according to Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura.

But the automaker also announced it has cut its annual net profit target by 1.3% to $4.1 billion for this year, as it expects sales in China and Europe to continue falling. Honda reported its net profit for the October-December period was $849.9 million (77.4 billion yen), compared with 47.7 billion yen registered in 2011 when the company’s supply chains were affected by the natural disasters which hit Japan and Thailand.

“The market had expected the company to release a bright outlook on the back of a weakening yen,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, an analyst at Chibagin Asset Management. “It was negative that the company did not raise its full-year outlook. Now, investors will be watching how the carmaker will try to raise sales in the core U.S. market this year.”

Honda’s biggest market is the US, which accounts for 40% of the automaker’s global sales. In 2012 the Japanese automaker posted its strongest sales numbers in the US since 2007 with 14.5 million units sold. But the company cut its global sales forecast from 4.12 million units to 4.06 million units, and its European auto sales outlook from 205,000 units to 185,000 units.