After a rough patch, that included recalls of millions of vehicles, America Honda is on track to set a new sales record in the U.S. as it launches five new or refreshed vehicles into the market.
John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said during a visit to Detroit that the automaker posted solid sales in May and so far sales in June have also been very strong. Honda now expects to set a record this year, he said.
“It’s a great time for Honda and Acura,” Mendel said. Sales of the new Honda HR-V got off to a very strong start in May, and more than one third of buyers were new to the Honda brand. Honda is following up the launch of the HR-V with the introduction of the new version of the Honda Pilot and as well as a re-styled Honda Civic sedan and coupe and the mid-cycle refresh of the Honda Accord later this year, Mendel said.
It’s not just the company’s namesake brand that’s performing well: Acura’s enjoying great results with the RDX and MDX posting strong numbers. “We’re poised to take advantage of the American love affair with trucks,” he said.
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While they are looking to exploit the lust for trucks and SUVs, Honda remains focused on its bread-and-butter products as well. The revamped Civic will come to market with a new turbo-charged engine that is expected to help maintain Honda’s reputation for fuel economy by getting better than 40 miles per gallon.
Sales of Honda passenger cars have also held up well despite the decline in gasoline prices that have help fuel a shift towards light-duty trucks and crossover vehicles. The Fit, Civic and Accord continue to sell well despite the pressures on the passenger car side on the business, said Mendel, who added the Honda’s car sales remain solid even though it continues to maintain a tight rein on incentives.
The introduction of TLX has also bolstered the Acura brands passenger car sales.
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To accommodate, the new product offensive, American Honda is re-organizing its production capacity in North America, but Mendel declined to predict whether Honda expects to pick up marketshare. The latest edition of The Car Wars study from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch suggested that Honda could pick up some additional share between now and 2018.
Mendel also said that roughly 1.2 million of the 6.3 million Honda-made vehicles that have recalled because in faulty airbag inflators have been repaired. “The suppliers have been ramping up,” said Mendel, who noted that Honda had brought on AutoLiv to supply the parts for airbags that once had been made by Takata, a long-time member of the Honda family of preferred suppliers.
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Honda Motor Co., American Honda’s Japanese parent company, announced last week it planned restate its financial results for fiscal 2015 to account for about $360 million in additional costs to pay for an expanded recall of cars equipped with air bag parts made by Takata Corp. It estimated the recalls would cost $363 million. Honda had reported in late April its operating profit for the year ended March, 31, dropped 13% from the previous year.