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Honda Looking For Big Comeback – But Still Facing Challenges

“It’s the worst I’ve seen,” says maker’s top U.S. executive.

by on Oct.28, 2011

This year "has been the worst I've seen," laments Honda's top U.S. executive John Mendel.

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.

The Final Word!

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.”

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Honda Adding New Small Car Plant in Mexico

Maker’s eighth North American assembly line.

by on Aug.15, 2011

The Honda Fit is likely to be among the first products to roll out of the maker's new Mexican plant. An EV version of the subcompact will launch in 2012.

Plagued by the threat of earthquakes, tsunamis — and lopsided exchange rates, Japanese automakers are shifting more and more manufacturing off the home islands – Honda announcing it will build its eighth North American assembly plant in Mexico.

Set to begin production in 2014, the $800 million factory will produce subcompacts – such as the Honda Fit and CR-Z — for sale in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets, the automaker says.  Assembling those low-priced models has become increasingly difficult in Japan, especially with the yen rising to its highest level ever, all but ensuring imports would be money-losers in the North American market.

Breaking News!

The factory will employ 3,200 and have an annual capacity of 200,000.  That will bring the to 1.83 million the total number of Honda and Acura cars and light trucks the carmaker will be able to produce in North America – which it estimates will be about 87% of its volume once the new assembly plant opens.`

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Honda Forecasts 63% Drop in Profits

Earnings amidst the devastation.

by on Jun.14, 2011

Shortages of the Honda Civic will contribute to the maker's plunge in profits for the fiscal year.

Just days after its rival, Toyota, projected it would see a huge plunge in profits as the result of the March 11 Japanese earthquake, Honda Motor Co. says it also will take a devastating hit to its bottom line, with earnings for the current fiscal year likely to plunge by 63.5%.

Honda – like Toyota – delayed its forecast for the fiscal year running through March 2012 while it assessed the impact of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which shut down most of its home market production for a month.

News You Can Use!

Honda now expects to have most of its factories back up to speed sooner than initially anticipated, but several key operations, including the plants producing the critical new 2012 Civic, will be operating below capacity until autumn.

Honda anticipates the current fiscal year will see profits of 195 billion yen ($2.4 billion), down by nearly two-thirds from the 534 billion yen recorded during the fiscal year that ended last March 31.

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