Honda has denied press reports that it is to move the development of its 660cc mini-vehicles to one of its subsidiaries.

According to a report in the businesses newspaper Nikkei, the Japanese motors group had planned to transfer the operation to Yachiyo, which already builds a number of the company's minivehicles.

But a spokeswoman today was quoted saying: "There's no truth to the report."

Sales of new automobiles have plummeted to record lows recently in Japan. In the month of April, sales fell by 28.6% over the same month last year, to 166,365 vehicles.

However, the 660cc cars have held up better than most.