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Honda keeps fingers crossed

Tokyo, April 25 (Reuters): Japanese car makers Honda Motor Co and Mazda Motor Corp posted bumper profits on Friday as they sped past rivals but mapped out different roads for the year ahead, with Honda taking a more wary approach.

Most of Japan’s top five automakers are forecasting a further profit rise in the current business year, but Honda warned that its operating profit would fall due to unfavourable exchange rates, a tough market at home and a slower rate of growth in the crucial US market.

“The domestic market has been and will continue to be severe, mainly because of the economy,” executive vice-president Koichi Amemiya told reporters, acknowledging that Honda was pushing back from 2004/05 its goal of one million domestic vehicle sales.

“We are pushing it back but are not, by any means, giving up,” he said.

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