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TOKYO, Jan 31 AFP

January 31 2013, 6:34PM

Japanese carmaker Honda says its net profit for the nine months to December 2012 more than doubled to $US3.2 billion ($A3.09 billion) thanks to sales gains and cost-cutting.

The company said on Thursday its net profit of Y291.4 billion ($A3.08 billion) was up from Y139.9 billion in the same period the previous year, while sales jumped 28.7 per cent to Y7.13 trillion.

Honda also trimmed its full-year to March net profit forecast to Y370 billion, down from a previous Y375 billion.

Earlier this week, Japan's three biggest carmakers - Toyota, Nissan and Honda - announced record sales for 2012, underscoring the trio's recovery after Japan's quake-tsunami disaster in 2011 devastated sales and production, and highlighting strong demand in Asian and US markets.

That helped offset weakness in debt-hit Europe and a downturn in China stemming from a diplomatic row that sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese goods in China, the world's biggest vehicle market.

In the separate data earlier this week, Honda, Japan's No.3 carmaker, said it logged sales of 3.81 million vehicles, up from 3.09 million a year, for the calendar year 2012.