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HONDA STILL CASHING IN ON BIKES

In the nine months of its current financial year to 31 December 2015, Honda’s global motorcycle presence impressively outclassed the much bigger Honda car business, despite a decrease in bike sales volume.

The total number of Honda-branded bikes and ATVs sold worldwide in this period fell by 3% to 12.882 million units. Within that, machines built by wholly-owned subsidiaries rather than joint ventures dropped by a far more marginal 0.1% to 7.939 million units.

Decline was driven by emerging markets. In Asia, weaker Chinese and Indonesian sales were responsible for a 2% fall to 11.39 million units. In “other regions” — principally Latin America — numbers were down by 16.6% to 988,000 units.

However, premium-priced products in developed markets easily overcame any shortfall. North America was up by 8.9% to 219,000 units and Europe added 5.8% to 147,000 units.

Consequentially, total revenue for the sector rose by 2.8% to £7.93bn. Associated operating profit was up by 11.1% to £893m. Operating margin improved from 10.4% to 11.3%.

In sharp contrast, operating profit from cars sank by 10%, down to just £1.55bn — even though it was based on an improved revenue almost six times bigger than bikes at £46.64bn. And Honda’s already anaemic operating margin on cars got even thinner, falling from 4.1% to 3.3%.   

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