Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Full-year results from the world’s biggest and most successful motorcycle manufacturer are never perfect. But Honda always gets much closer to perfection than anybody else. Its performance in the 12 months to 31 March 2024 was another splendid example. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Annual motorcycle business revenue climbed by 10.7% to £16.511bn. Operating profit was 13.8% up to £2.852bn. Operating margin increased from 16.8% to 17.3%. Honda’s bike earnings almost exceeded its automobile business operating profit, which came in at £2.875bn on a hugely larger turnover figure.

Perhaps surprisingly, global motorcycle sales volume had grown by only 0.3% to 18.819 million units. But that concealed quality outpacing quantity. Asian headcount had actually deteriorated by 0.6% to 16.016 million.

Economic downturns in Vietnam and Thailand reduced respective sales in those markets by 14.8% to 2.05 million and 1.4% to 1.435 million. Other more minor losers included China. And Indonesia, where the Astra Honda joint venture shares its bounty with British conglomerate Jardine Matheson and is therefore less profitable, only managed a 6.5% gain to 4.77 million.

However, Honda’s wholly-owned enterprises in emerging markets responded. HMSI sales in India put on 12.5% to 4.53 million. And output at the brand’s Brazilian manufacturing hub in Manaus, serving Latin America, grew by 9.9% to 1.236 million. Overlapping some of these numbers, unspecified other regions saw their sales rise by 1.7% to 1.624 million.

The picture in developed markets with much higher profit margins was more attractive. North American sales rose by 8.5% to 498,000. European countries did even better, 26.8% up to 440,000. Only Japan’s domestic sales dipped marginally, 2% down to 241,000.

The forecast for Honda’s new fiscal year predicts global motorcycle sales volume will expand back in the direction of a 20 million unit mark, with 5.2% growth to 19.8 million. Asia should recover by 5.6% to 16.905 million. Other emerging regions are expected to put on 7.1% to 1.74 million. The European target is 8% up to 475,000 while Japan will disgrace itself with a 17% decline to 200,000. North America is scheduled to be a loser too, falling by 3.6% to 480,000.

All those macro-economic woes that get western manufacturers crying into their beer never get a mention.

Yen-Sterling currency translation at forex rates applicable on 10 May


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