Honda Motor expect its car unit to return to profit in the second half of 2009 thanks to rising sales, even without a boost from the healthy financial services division, a top executive said.

“We’re expecting to sell just short of 100,000 more cars in the second half (than in the first), so that would result in a profit,” chief financial officer Yoichi HOJO told Reuters.

Losses from a stronger yen assumed for October-March would offset the absence of restructuring costs in that period, but better vehicle sales would have a net positive impact, Hojo added.

Honda last week reported an unexpected profit for the April-June fiscal first quarter after a JPY46.8bn (US$491m) boost from financial services, which in turn benefited partly from lower interest rates.