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Honda expects record global sales and production in 2005

2005-12-20 11:56

Japan's No.3 carmaker also estimated its production of vehicles worldwide to have gone up 7.2% from last year to 3.41 million cars, also a record, according to Honda President and Chief Executive Officer Takeo Fukui.

Although the company forecasts the number of cars sold in Japan in 2005 to drop by 3.1% to 720,000 cars, it expects sales outside Japan to have risen this year.

U.S. car sales in 2005 are expected to total 1.45 million vehicles, a 4% increase, while those in Europe are projected to have climbed 11% to 285,000. Honda also expects its China car sales to have jumped 19% to 260,000 units.

The carmaker also forecast continued sales increases in markets such as the U.S. and China for 2006.

Koichi Kondo, the company's chief operating officer for North American operations, said that vehicle sales in the U.S. will likely increase to 1.51 million cars next year from the 1.45 million estimated for 2005.

In China, Honda expects 2006 sales of 350,000 vehicles, up from the 260,000 vehicles predicted for 2005, Honda's COO for Chinese operations Atsuyoshi Hyogo said.

Honda plans to give its domestic sales and production outlook when the next fiscal year starts in April.

In October, Honda reported a record profit for the fiscal half-year - up 1% from a year ago - on the back of strong sales around the world, especially in North America.

The company has revised its full year forecast upward to 490 billion yen (US$4.2 billion) profit, up from its earlier forecast for 470 billion yen (US$4 billion) profit, which would be a record high for Honda for the fifth straight year.

Meanwhile, Honda aims to further develop its humanoid robot ASIMO, a new version of which was unveiled last week and was shown serving tea, pushing a mail cart and galloping along at twice its previous pace, Fukui said.

The company will focus more on improving the 130-centimeter-tall (51-inch), bubble-headed robot's intelligence capabilities, he said.

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