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Honda's net profit up 79% on falling recall costs

Strong sales of Civic, SUVs also padded bottom line

TOKYO -- Honda Motor's group net profit surged 79% to 616.5 billion yen ($5.53 billion) in the year ended last month, thanks to sales growth in North America and China and a decline in expenses related to recalls of Takata air bags, the Japanese automaker said Friday.

Overall sales fell 4% to 13.99 trillion yen, with global sales volume reaching 5.02 million units, topping 5 million for the first time. Sales of the Civic compact grew in North America and China. Sport utility vehicle sales also climbed.

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