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Honda pulls team out of motorcycle race

Honda Motor Co. said today it was pulling its team out of a motorcycle race in Japan this year as a part of cost-cutting amid a global slowdown.

Honda said in December that it was quitting Formula One racing to focus on its core business of making and selling cars.

Honda, Japan's second biggest automaker, declined to say how much would be saved by ending its participation in the Suzuka 8 Hour World Endurance Championship Race.

Honda motorcycles will continue to take part in such races for other teams, the Tokyo-based company said.

The Honda Racing motorcycle team was No. 1 last year in the 8-hour race, and second in 2007. The race boasts a 30-year history.

Like other Japanese automakers, Honda is being battered by the plunge in global auto demand after the US financial crisis struck last year.

Its plants are being idled to curb production and reduce inventory. The maker of the Accord sedan and Odyssey minivan, is putting 4,300 people out of work in Japan by the end of April. Honda employs 185,000 people around the world.


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