The savings combined with a 6.8 percent increase in worldwide unit sales to overcome huge foreign currency losses that clobbered many Japanese companies in the period.
"We have changed the profitability of new models by using common parts and conducting value analysis and value engineering so that we manufacture competitive and attractive cars to boost profitability," Kuraishi said last week, while announcing financial results for Honda's fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31. "As for new models, we ended up postponing advertisements or using less advertisement expenses than initially estimated."
The formula should help keep Honda profits humming into the current year.
American Honda booked record U.S. sales of 1.64 million vehicles in 2016. And Kuraishi said the company expects sales to remain at least that high in 2017, thanks to still more fresh product. The redesigned CR-V crossover debuted in December, and on deck are overhauls of the Odyssey minivan and flagship Accord midsize sedan.
Honda expects the U.S. market's shift toward light trucks to continue and aims to tap the trend by ramping up production of crossovers and SUVs, Kuraishi added.
In the Japanese carmaker's fiscal third quarter, operating profit climbed to ¥207.6 billion ($1.78 billion), and net income advanced 36 percent to ¥168.8 billion ($1.45 billion).
Revenue fell 3.2 percent to ¥3.5 trillion ($29.99 billion) in the three months, mostly a reflection of the negative effect of translating dollars into Japanese yen. Global retail unit sales rose 6.8 percent to 1.3 million vehicles in the fiscal third quarter.
North America remained Honda's most profitable market.
North American regional operating profit more than doubled to ¥83.77 billion ($717.7 million), while sales increased 9.4 percent to 510,000 vehicles from the same quarter a year before.
Honda also raised its full-year global operating profit forecast for the second time this fiscal year, anticipating a return to more favorable currency rates and higher sales in Asia.
The yen has declined in value against the U.S. dollar since the election of President Donald Trump, and that is expected to ease foreign exchange losses at Honda and other Japanese automakers.
Naoto Okamura contributed to this report.