TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. expects to recover from the March 11 earthquake earlier than expected and return to normal production before the end of the year.
The automaker joins Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., which have said production recovery is faster than earlier expected. Honda plans to prioritize U.S. and China markets to supply parts, Chief Financial Officer Fumihiko Ike told reporters in Tokyo today.
Honda and rival Japanese carmakers are working to restore full operations after the March 11 temblor and tsunami damaged parts factories and power plants, leading to shortages of components and electricity. Honda has said it expects its global output to return to normal by the end of the year.
In the U.S., the automaker has "no way" to prevent market share from dropping, Ike said. The carmaker plans to lower incentives as it lacks product supply in the world's second-largest vehicle market and sees all non-Japanese brands as rivals, he said. Honda plans to reduce production of its best-selling Civic compact car in the U.S. for the next few months, Ike said, without elaborating the timing.
Honda still lacks parts and supply in three areas, electronic components, paint and rubber, Ike said.
The company plans to announce its fiscal full-year forecast ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting on June 23, Ike said. Honda said last month net income plunged 38 percent to 44.5 billion yen ($550 million) for the three months ended March 31, shortly after the March 11 earthquake.
The carmaker didn't provide a full-year earnings forecast, citing the disaster's impact on production.
Honda said the earthquake cost the company 45.7 billion yen in the year ended March. Still, net income almost doubled to 534 billion yen, while sales gained 4.2 percent to 8.94 trillion yen.
Japan's automakers also face possible blackouts because the quake reduced the nation's power-generating capacity. The carmakers are considering electricity-saving options such as shutting plants and offices for two days a week and shifting work to weekends to conserve power.
Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co. also continues to work hard to restore its quake-hit production to full levels before its October target, CEO Carlos Ghosn said today.
Ghosn said Nissan workers are working hard to prove him wrong on his prediction that output would recover to pre-earthquake levels by October.
Ghosn was speaking to Reuters in an interview at Nissan's Iwaki engine plant, about 60 km (30 miles) from Tokyo Electric Power's crippled nuclear power station.
Reuters contributed to this report.