Honda: Sales sink 18.2% in North America

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Honda says its motorcycle and ATV sales in North America fell 18.2 percent to 503,000 units in fiscal 2007, ended March 31.

Honda says in a recently released annual report that sales of new on-road sports motorcycles were strong in North America last year, but that off-road models experienced a sales decline as soaring gasoline prices and concerns about the economy prompted customers to curtail recreational spending.

The company says the ATV market was relatively strong in the sport category, in response to the introduction of new products by various manufacturers, but higher interest rates and concerns about an economic slowdown affected demand in the utility category, driving down overall ATV demand compared with the preceding fiscal year.

Global
In India, Honda's largest market, brand unit sales in fiscal 2007 rose 13.3 percent to 3,930,000 units. This figure represents the combined sales of Hero Honda Motors Limited, which experienced an 11.4 percent increase to 3,239,000 units, and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Private Limited, which experienced a 23 percent rise in sales to 691,000 units.

In Indonesia — the world's third largest motorcycle market following China and India — sales in fiscal 2007 declined 11.6 percent to 2,340,000 units.

In Brazil, Honda's sales totaled 1.021 million units, up 22 percent from the previous year. To meet further increases in demand, the company intends to increase annual capacity to 1,500,000 units by the end of the year.

Finally, in Europe, Honda's sales in fiscal 2007 totaled 297,000 units, down 6.6 percent from the previous year. The company says sales of scooters were robust, but sales of large super sport models and motorcycles in the 125cc class were lackluster.

Outlook
Honda says the U.S. economy is showing signs of a moderate downturn while European economies are expected to continue recovering and Asian economies are expected to continue expanding. Still, the company says it expects its global operating environment to remain "difficult" because of political and economic uncertainties, fluctuations in oil and raw material prices and currency movements.

For a full summary of Honda's operating results, click here.