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Honda posts quarterly profit on lower recall costs

Visitors walk through a showroom of the Honda Motor Co. headquarters in Tokyo, Friday, April 28, 2017. Honda Motor Co. is reporting a 95.9 billion yen ($864 million) profit for January-March, a reversal from the 93.4 billion yen loss it racked up a year earlier, as the Japanese automaker recovers from costs for a massive air-bag recall. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) — Honda Motor Co. reported Friday a 95.9 billion yen ($864 million) profit for January-March, a turnaround from the 93.4 billion yen loss it racked up a year earlier, as the Japanese automaker recovers from costs for a massive air-bag recall.

Quarterly sales rose 2.9 percent to 3.76 trillion yen ($33.9 billion) from 3.66 trillion yen. The performance exceeded forecasts by analysts at FactSet.

Tokyo-based Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minivan and Asimo robot, said an unfavorable exchange rate and research spending that chipped away at profits were offset by lower recall expenses and cost cuts.

Honda is the biggest customer of Japanese air-bag maker Takata Corp., which is recalling millions of defective air-bags whose inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel.

For the fiscal year through March, Honda posted a 616.5 billion yen ($5.6 billion) profit, up dramatically from 344.5 billion yen the previous fiscal year, and better than the company or analyst forecasts.

Honda sold 5 million vehicles around the world in the fiscal year that ended in March, up from 4.7 million vehicles a year earlier. It expects to sell nearly 5.1 million vehicles in the fiscal year through March 2018.

Honda saw vehicle sales improve in almost all regions around the world, including North America, Europe and Asia outside Japan. Vehicle sales in Japan were flat.

The defective Takata air-bag inflators have been blamed in 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide. More than 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

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