Honda, Porsche forecast lower profit, Toyota losses up

Written by Reuters | Tokyo,Stuttgart | Updated: Feb 1 2009, 05:06am hrs
Sliding car sales dealt fresh blows on Friday to the earnings of top auto makers caught in the worst industry downturn in decades.

Amid emptying showrooms and production cuts worldwide, Honda Motor Co on Friday lowered its annual profit forecasts for a fourth time this year and rival Toyota Motor Corp's losses were seen growing. German sports car maker Porsche said first-half profits will fall sharply and forecast a sales slump of more than a quarter in the six months to the end of January.

The sales environment is changing faster than we were able to predict, Honda Executive vice president Koichi Kondo told a news conference, noting that four profit warnings in a single year was probably unprecedented in Honda's history.

We don't expect conditions in the US to improve in the first half of next year, and we can only hope they will start to recover in the second half, he added.

In Russia, the government said car maker Gaz was in a difficult situation after shedding 2% of its staff last year and it would discuss support measures next week. Consumers fearing for their jobs in the spreading global recession have put off buying big-ticket items or struggled to find financing, leaving manufacturers with bloated inventories.