Honda Motor expects its global sales in 2005 will have risen 5% from a year earlier to 3.35 million vehicles, a top executive reportedly said on Tuesday.

Honda also estimated its production of vehicles worldwide to have gone up 7.2% from last year to 3.41 million cars, president Takeo Fukui told the Associated Press (AP).

Although the company forecasts the number of cars sold in Japan in 2005 to drop by 3.1% to 720,000 cars, it expects sales outside Japan to have risen this year, the report said.

Car sales in the US are expected to have risen 4% to 1.45 million cars this year, while those in Europe have climbed 11% to 285,000. It also expects its China car sales to have jumped 19% to 260,000 units, AP added.

The Associated Press noted that the forecast volume of car sales and production this year are both record highs for Honda, thanks mainly to strong overseas sales.

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