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HONDA RULES THE ROOST

As the only Japanese manufacturer to avoid losses on powered two-wheeler operations in the truly dreadful April-June period of 2020, you’d expect Honda to lead recovery this time around in the first quarter of its new 2021/2022 fiscal year — and wouldn’t be mistaken. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Global Q1 sales revenue from Honda-branded bikes bounced back by 89% to £3.41bn. Associated operating profit went berserk, 619.6% up to £530m. Operating margin climbed from 4.1% to 15.6%.

In studied contrast, Honda’s much larger car business managed to make a lower operating profit of £465m, which was at least better than the horrendous £1.289bn operating loss it incurred during Q1 last year.

Worldwide sales volume more than doubled, ascending by 109.1% to 3.879 million motorcycles and scooters. Asian markets as a whole were responsible for the bulk of that, 106.4% up to 3.245 million. China, which had already overcome its initial Covid surge prior to Q1 last year, added a mere 3.5% at 302,000. But elsewhere in Asia recovery was much more pronounced.

Indonesia topped the pile, rising by 260.1% to 877,000. Pakistan put on 215.5% to 331,000. The Philippines increased by 184.6% to 130,000. Thailand was 150.3% up at 336,000. However, formerly dominant India made a more modest 90.6% gain to 491,000 and Vietnam grew by 42% to 590,000.

Honda qualified the figures, though, by saying Asian market outlook is uncertain due to Covid resurgence in many of these countries.

In developed regions, Europe led the the growth path, 77% up to 108,000. North America rose by 65.6% to 101,000. And Japanese domestic sales were 18% better, on 59,000. Elsewhere, Brazil boasted a 285.2% recovery to 251.000.

For its full fiscal year through to 31 March 2022, Honda is now forecasting an annual global bike sales volume increase of 15% to about 17.4 million. But estimates are vague and that headline figure has already been adjusted downwards from an earlier prediction of 18 million. 

For instance, some 745,000 machines have been wiped off Asia’s original contribution, leaving 15 million. Conversely, North America has been upgraded to 420,000 from 405,000, while Europe was lifted from 285,000 to 310,000.

Yen-Sterling translation at forex rates applicable on 4 August

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