Honda’s profit drops on air bag recall expenses, flat sales

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co’s fiscal third-quarter profit fell 71 per cent from a year earlier as air-bag recalls and flat vehicle sales offset gains from cost cuts, the company said yesterday.

Tokyo-based Honda’s October-December 2018 profit totalled 168 billion yen (USD1.5 billion), down from 570.3 billion yen a year earlier. Quarterly sales were unchanged at 3.9 trillion yen (USD36 billion).

Honda has suffered from a massive global recall of Takata air bags whose inflators can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have died from the problem worldwide and hundreds have been injured.

Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minvan and Asimo robot, said it is facing various class action lawsuits in the US related to the air bags.

Honda said its settlements for April-December totalled 53.8 billion yen (USD493 million) and that it may face more such expenses.

Honda said motorcycle sales improved in Vietnam and it also recorded better sales in its financial services business.

Honda raised its profit forecast for the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, by 20 billion yen (USD183 million) from an earlier projection, to 695 billion yen (USD6.4 billion). That’s down 34 per cent from the previous fiscal year.

This January 11, 2016 file photo shows the logo of Honda Motor Co on a showroom screen at the Japanese automaker’s headquarters in Tokyo. – AP