After Two Floods, Honda Tanks, Nissan Soars

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

When the March 11 tsunami hit, observers thought that of Japan’s major automakers, Honda would be the least exposed. Most of its global production already is outside of Japan. Very few cars that are produced in Japan are exported. Toyota and Nissan looked much more vulnerable. Distrust predictions: Today, Honda presented the results for the last quarter of 2011. The numbers look uglier than the cars in the video.

In the October-December quarter, Honda’s operating profit dropped 65 percent to 44.3 billion yen ($580 million). Analysts polled by Reuters had expected twice as much. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, Honda expects an operating profit of 200 billion yen ($2.6 billion), down 65 percent from the year before. In August 2011, Honda had forecasted 270 billion yen. That was before the Thai floods hit.

Top Three Japanese Automakers, Calendar 2011

(Thousand units. Source: company reports)

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on Jan 31, 2012

    Honda makes ugly, noncompetitive, cheaply made cars and rests on its laurels of ONCE offering a class-leading, fun to drive reliable product. Japanese car buyers are stupid and it takes some to keep buying an Accord or Camry (maybe 10-15 years) before they realize that the competition has not only caught up, but surpassed them and the only "advantage" of a Japanese car (most are now made stateside) is the price premium the supposed reliability and engineering costs you at the dealer. I would still buy a Japanese car (just bought a Subaru) but they'll have a hard time convincing me that it'd be worth the price premium Honda has always lorded over the competition.

  • Carlisimo Carlisimo on Jan 31, 2012

    The Civic seems to be selling better than anyone gives it credit for.

  • Djoelt1 Djoelt1 on Jan 31, 2012

    Start the flame wars! We were set to buy a Fiesta as our second family car until I see reliability data. Honda Fit is top of the list now. Honda still carries the reliability torch and get high resale values in our area.

  • Niky Niky on Feb 01, 2012

    I don't get all the Accord hate, either. I mean, I'd never buy one, simply because a Mazda6 is more exciting to drive, but compared to the likes of the Camry or the Sonata, the former of which is cheaper-looking inside and the latter of which is much smaller... the Accord is a great, no-nonsense family car. Same with the Fit. The class has moved on beyond it, but the magic ULT seats, exceptional space and great motor still make it compelling. Honda has had a very bad year. And while their product mix is aging and competitors have now caught up with and even surpassed them in some areas, they're nowhere close to 80's or 90's GM badness.