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Honda's profits rise a bit despite Asian slowdown

Despite the economic slowdown throughout Asia, Honda Motor Co. used relatively strong car sales in America and Europe to post a small rise in third-quarter profits.

Profits for the Honda group, which includes its overseas subsidiaries, rose 5.3 percent to $517 million in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, the company said Wednesday.Japan's third largest automaker said revenues rose 16.6 percent. Strong sales of its CR-V sports utility vehicle in the United States and Europe fueled the growth, Honda said.

Car sales in Japan have slowed for most automakers since last April when the government raised the national sales tax to 5 percent from 3 percent.

Honda said it sold 601,000 automobiles worldwide during the quarter, 7.7 percent more then the year before.

Sales in Japan fell 1 percent to 468.7 billion yen, while overseas sales soared 26.2 percent to 1.1 trillion yen.

In the quarter just ended, cars accounted for more than 80 percent of revenues while motorcycles contributed just 12 percent.

Revenues from Honda's motorcycle business rose 16.1 percent. The company said sales in Brazil and India were especially strong.