WRAPUP 2-Honda warns on profit as GM, Chrysler scramble for deal

martes 28 de octubre de 2008 10:27 CET

* Honda cuts annual forecasts on yen rise, slower sales

* Nissan/Renault CEO warns of prolonged crisis

* GM, Chrysler seek $10 bln govt aid for proposed merger (Updates with fund manager, analyst, executive comments)

By Chang-Ran Kim, Asia autos correspondent

TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Cotización) warned of lower-than-expected annual profits as a deepening financial crisis has hammered demand for cars and sent the yen soaring, while U.S. rivals sought government aid to fund a proposed merger to survive a shrinking market.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive at rival Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Cotización), warned the industry was treading in "uncharted territory" that required a drastic shift in priorities to make it through the next few years.

"This is not going to be a short-term crisis. I don't think we'll get out next year, or even in 2010," Ghosn, also head of France's Renault SA (RENA.PA: Cotización), told a business seminar in Tokyo.

Honda is considered one of the best-placed among global automakers to weather collapsing car demand and shrinking margins thanks to its manufacturing flexibility and vehicle line-up that is geared towards fuel-efficient models.

But even Japan's No.2 automaker is struggling against a steeper-than-expected contraction in U.S. and European car sales and a spillover effect into China, India and other emerging markets that is seen continuing at least through next year.   Continuación...