An operating loss of ¥283.0 billion ($2.91 billion at current exchange rates) for the period ending March 31 represents Honda Motor Company's first quarterly loss in 15 years. To put that into proper perspective, that was when Honda was plying the 1994 model year Accord wagon shown above.

The automaker also reported global sales to distributors and dealers were down 680,000 units, or more than 35 percent. In North America alone, volume slid from 459,000 units last year, to just 219,000 units this year. For the period, Honda reported regional operating losses in all major markets.

While the news was anything but pretty, the automaker is still faring better than many of its rivals. Chrysler LLC and General Motors are currently toiling to stay afloat. Closer to home, rival Toyota is expected to announce its first loss later this month. Honda's Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo, however, is reportedly confidently optimistic. The company will focus on fuel efficient vehicles, leverage its flexible manufacturing, and engage in aggressive cost cutting to keep the company profitable in the current fiscal year, even as sales are predicted to continue their decline.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]