TOKYO — To no one's surprise, the new man at the helm of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is upbeat — and with just cause. Honda has become Japan's best automotive performer and now ranks third behind Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. in the domestic market. Worldwide vehicle sales have risen 30% in the past five years to 2.3 million units while earnings head even higher. Not bad for a maverick manufacturer which got started 50 years ago in the post-World War II shambles of Japan making ...

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