As far as John Mendel is concerned New Year’s Eve can’t come soon enough. The top American executive at Honda says this has been the worst year the Asian automaker has experienced since it first entered the U.S. market – though with its factories now back up to full capacity Mendel believes Honda is finally back on track.
Honda has spent months struggling with shortages of most of its products — notably including the all-new Civic it launched earlier in the year, just before a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and seriously damaged that nation’s automotive infrastructure. Production is finally back up to normal, just in time for the upcoming launch of the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V, long the dominant model in the compact crossover segment.
This year was “the worst I’ve seen,” said Mendel, during an interview while on the launch of the new CR-V. “We came out strong,” at the beginning of the year, with demand the strongest it had been since the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008, “and then, boom.”