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Honda predicts minimal profit growth

Honda logo Image copyright AFP
Image caption Honda's profit in the January-to-March quarter fell by 43% from a year ago

Japanese carmaker Honda has forecast that profit for the current financial year will rise by just 0.4%, after results missed expectations last year.

It expects net profit of 525bn yen ($4.4bn; £2.9bn) for the year to next March, after reporting a 8.9% decline in profit last year to 523bn yen.

It was hit last year by quality issues, delayed vehicle launches and recalls.

Honda is also facing tougher competition in the US, as cheaper fuel has boosted demand for larger SUVs.

In the January-to-March quarter, the final quarter of the last financial year, net profits fell 43% to 97.8bn yen.

US recovery?

Honda has been facing scrutiny following the recall of millions of vehicles to replace faulty air bag inflators made by parts maker Takata, its biggest air bag supplier.

Despite the dent in its sales and image, Honda's executive vice president Tetsuo Iwamura was optimistic about a pick up in demand later this year.

"We expect our US sales to start recovering from the latter half of this business year with the launch of the new Pilot and Civic," he said at a press conference in Tokyo.

In February, the carmaker replaced its president Takanobu Ito with another executive - Takahiro Hachigo - among with other management changes.

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