Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Following the same negative foreign exchange theme that has afflicted its Japanese competitors, full-year results to 31 March 2017 for Honda’s bike business are a sorry tale of less money despite selling more metal, reports BDN financial editor Roger Willis.

Global sales volume of Honda-branded motorcycles increased by 3.6% to a staggering 17.661 million units. Of these, 11.237 million were made by wholly-owned subsidiaries, a 6.3% improvement.

Honda’s vast Asian market boasted a 5.3% rise to 15.937 million units, with strong growth in India, Pakistan and Vietnam easily offsetting a drop in Indonesia. Other emerging regions, predominantly Latin America, fell by 14.1% to 1.057 million. Brazil was cited as the primary culprit. Developed areas were a mixed bag. Europe stacked on a useful 6.4% to 217,000 units. North America fell by 4.5% to 294,000. Japanese domestic sales were 13.3% in arrears at 156,000.

However, yen appreciation undermined the good news. Worldwide revenue from motorcycles declined by 4.9% to £11.954bn. Associated operating profit was 6.1% down to £1.189bn. Operating margin slid from 10.1% to 9.9%.

On a brighter note, Honda forecasts bigger numbers in its new fiscal year to the end of March 2018, and presumably intends to make a better job of hedging currency bets. Total volume is predicted to add 6.3% to 18.77 million bikes. Most of that will come from Asia, where sales should be 6.8% up to 17.015 million. The company is also expecting a 7.1% North American recovery to 315,000. But, interestingly, it believes European optimism is fading. Only a 1.4% increase to 220,000 is anticipated in our neck of the woods.       

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