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Honda's Profit Drops Due to Air Bag Recall, Flat Sales

Third-quarter profit fell 71 percent.

AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co.'s fiscal third-quarter profit fell 71 percent from a year earlier as air-bag recalls and flat vehicle sales offset gains from cost cuts, the company said Friday. 

Tokyo-based Honda's October-December profit totaled $1.5 billion, down from $5.2 billion a year earlier. Quarterly sales were unchanged at $36 billion. Honda has suffered from a massive global recall of Takata air bags whose inflators can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have died from the problem worldwide and hundreds have been injured.

Honda, which makes the Accord sedan, Odyssey minvan and Asimo robot, said it is facing various class action lawsuits in the U.S. related to the air bags. Honda said its settlements for April-December totaled $493 million, and that it may face more such expenses.

Honda said motorcycle sales improved in Vietnam and it also recorded better sales in its financial services business. Honda raised its profit forecast for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, by $183 million to $6.4 billion. That's down 34 percent from the previous fiscal year.

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