Honda Motor has posted a fourth quarter operating loss of JPY283bn, down JPY 451.8bn compared to Q4 2008.

Auto sales were off 35.3% to 680,000 units and revenue fell 41.6% to JPY1,783.8bn due to that and other factors including negative currency effects.

There was also an increase in fixed costs per unit as a result of reduced production, increased raw material costs, the negative impact of currency effects caused by the appreciation of the Japanese yen and expenses related to withdrawal from some racing activities and cancellations of development of new models, Honda said in a statement.

There was some offsetting from cost reductions and lower selling, general and administrative (SG&A) and R&D expenses.

Consolidated loss before income taxes fell JPY456.4bn to JPY309.5bn. Net loss was JPY186.1bn versus a JPY25.4bn profit in 2008.

Consolidated net sales and other operating revenue for the full fiscal year ended 31 March, 2009 dipped 16.6% to JPY10,011.2bn. Sales of cars and light trucks fell 10.4% to 3.517m units as sales in Japan and North America fell, offset in part by rises in Asia and 'other' markets including Brazil.

Consolidated operating income plunged 80.1% to JPY189.6bn.

Honda said this was due to the lower revenue, increased raw material costs, the increase in unit fixed costs, negative currency effects due to the appreciation of the Japanese yen and expenses related to withdrawal from some racing activities and cancellations of development of new models, despite the positive effect of continuing cost reduction and lower R&D expenses.

Income before income taxes fell 81.9% to JPY161.7bn and net income was off 77.2% to JPY 137.0bn.

Outlook

For fiscal year 2009/10 the automaker is expecting a 97% drop in net income to JPY40bn on revenues down 16.4% to JPY8,370bn. Operating income is forecast at JPY10bn, down almost 95%.

It expects to sell 3.21m cars and light trucks this financial year, down 8.7% year on year.