TOKYO -- Honda's North America operations emerged as a resilient bright spot in the company's earthquake-hammered earnings report, but the company's U.S. business is expected to feel the pain soon.
CFO Fumihiko Ike warned that vehicle supplies already are down to 40 days in North America and could go much lower in a month or so, slamming profits in the fiscal quarter ending June 31 and beyond.
"As for overseas, the second quarter could be more difficult because of the time lag," Ike said, referring to the July-September period.
The impact of the March 11 earthquake will be felt later in the United States because of the extra time involved in shipping cars and parts there.
Honda booked ¥45.7 billion, or about $551.5 million, in one-time earthquake costs in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31.
The hit halved Honda's global operating profit to about $557.6 million in the quarter, from about $1.16 billion a year earlier.
Revenue plunged 66 percent to about $26.710 billion.
Ike said the earthquake costs cover damage to property, plants, equipment and inventory, as well as the temporary suspension of auto assembly and work at its r&d center.
North American operating profit plunged 65 percent in the fourth quarter to $296.4 million. But the region was at least in the black; Japan and Europe posted losses.
With the outlook still clouded by uncertainty about supply lines, Honda didn't bother to give an earnings or sales forecast for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.
Honda has said that its production in Japan will limp along at only half the normal level until July.
The company says output should ramp up from there and hit pre-quake levels by year end.