Honda Finance, the financing arm of Honda Motor Co., came to the public securitization market for the first time in mid-June with a 32.6 billion ($311 million) autoloan transaction, which lead manager Merrill Lynch said will set a new benchmark in the Japanese asset-backed market.

The one-tranche deal, which was rated triple-A by Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's, was certainly tightly priced at 15 basis points over Libor for paper with a final maturity of 2005 and an expected average life of around 1.6 years.

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