TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. expects North America to be its slowest-growing region in the current fiscal year that began April 1. But executives say U.S. sales should still reach an all-time high.
North American sales will rise just 4 percent to 1.8 million vehicles this fiscal year, Honda predicted.
The pace will slow dramatically from a 31 percent jump in North American sales to 1.7 million units in the fiscal year ended March 31. Globally, Honda forecasts a 10 percent surge in sales to a record 4.4 million.
Booming sales in Japan and Asia will lead the global expansion. Honda predicts a 19 percent gain at home and an 18 percent advance in Asia, its No. 2 market after North America.
But Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura downplayed the slowing North American growth, saying business will return to normal after exceptionally fast growth last year as Honda recovered from the supply crunch of the 2011 Japan earthquake.
North American sales won't reach the record 1.9 million units sold in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. But U.S. sales should exceed the record 1.6 million sold that year.
"Last year showed the recovery from the earthquake," Iwamura said while discussing Honda's latest earnings. "But this year, we still target sales of more than 1.55 million, our U.S. record."
Honda expects global net income to jump 58 percent to ¥580 billion, or about $6.16 billion, in the year ending March 31, 2014, as revenue rises 22 percent to a record $128.50 billion, topping the previous record set in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.
In the fiscal year that ended March 31, Honda's net income surged 74 percent to $3.90 billion, as revenues rose 24 percent to $104.91 billion. Operating profit more than doubled to $5.79 billion.