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Honda's quarterly profit jumps 20 pct on Asian vehicle sales growth, raises annual forecast

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TOKYO - Honda's quarterly profit surged nearly 20 per cent on demand for remodeled cars in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The Japanese automaker also raised its full-year profit and sales forecasts.

Honda Motor Co. reported a profit Tuesday of 146.5 billion yen ($1.4 billion) for the April-June fiscal first quarter, close to what analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast.

The automaker raised its annual profit forecast to 600 billion yen ($5.9 billion) from 595 billion yen ($5.8 billion), and its annual sales forecast to 12.8 trillion yen ($125.5 billion) from 12.75 trillion yen ($1215 billion).

Honda, Japan's No. 3 automaker, posted 574 billion yen profit on 11.84 trillion yen sales for the last fiscal year, which ended March 2014.

Demand was strong recently for Honda's new City sedan in India, Mobilio seven-seater in Indonesia and the remodeled Fit subcompact in Japan, helping lift quarterly sales 5 per cent year-on-year to 2.988 trillion yen ($29.3 billion).

Honda, which sold 1.06 million vehicles in April-June, expects to sell 4.83 million vehicles for the fiscal year through March 2015.

The Tokyo-based maker of the Odyssey minivan and Accord sedan sold 4.32 million vehicles last fiscal year.

Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co., which reported a quarterly profit jump of nearly 37 per cent on Monday, expects to sell 5.65 million vehicles this fiscal year, up 8.9 per cent from the previous year.

Toyota, the world's top automaker, reports earnings Aug. 5.

Japanese automakers continue to do solid business in North America but have all embarked on an aggressive growth strategy in developing nations.

Honda is unique compared with Nissan and Toyota for its powerful motorcycle division that makes a significant contribution to its earnings.

Honda sold 4.14 million motorcycles during the fiscal first quarter, up from 4.05 million the same period a year earlier.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama

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