Honda said the revenue gain, to a record ¥1.03 trillion, or $8.6 billion at current exchange rates, helped push worldwide profits to record levels as well.
The company said global net income surged 40 percent to $960.5 million on revenue of $16.6 billion, up 13.3 percent. Operating profit rose 2.7 percent to $1.3 billion, buoyed by currency gains and cost cuts, it said.
Honda is less pessimistic about the outlook for the North American market. It raised its estimate of unit sales for the full fiscal year through March to 1.52 million from the 1.5 million it forecast in October.
It also predicted full-year record revenue for the third straight year and record profits for the second year in a row.
"It's pretty hard to tell how much the Iraq issue will impact the market," said Koichi Amemiya, Honda's executive vice president in charge of North American operations. "But past crises have tended to favor Japanese cars because of their good fuel economy."
Even so, Amemiya is cautious. He expects the U.S. market in 2003 to total "16 million-plus," at the low end of the industry forecasts. In Japan, Honda cut its sales estimate to 880,000 units from 900,000. It left its estimates for European sales unchanged at 200,000.