Some of the biggest gains in sales over the first half of this year have been seen in Japanese automakers. One chief reason why sales have been so much better is the utterly depressed sales numbers in the first half of 2011. That’s when the pernicious trifecta of a devastating earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in the country crippled the Japanese auto industry’s supply lines, and caused major disruptions in the manufacturing process.
Although sales for Honda (NYSE:HMC) remain impressive through the first half, keep in mind that U.S. sales gains in 2012 cannot be fairly compared to 2011. Still, the company sold 700,982 vehicles through the first half of the year, a 15.4% gain compared to the prior year. While U.S. sales growth figures are solid, they pale in comparison to Honda’s China sales growth. The company’s two Chinese joint ventures, Guangqi Honda and Dongfeng Honda, sold a total of 64,652 vehicles in China during June, a remarkable 184.2% year-over-year increase. Through the first half of the year, Honda has sold 327,013 vehicles in China, a metric that translates into year-over-year growth of 120.5%.
The company’s share price was in the black, albeit a slight 2.5% gain through the first six months. That small gain does come with a 2.2% dividend yield. If Honda can continue recovering in both the U.S. and China markets, and if rising gasoline prices and a global recession force consumers into more fuel-efficient models of the kind generally offered by Honda, the shares could continue driving higher through the second half of the year.