Honda aims to double sales by 2017

Fit compact, emerging markets pin automaker's ambitious worldwide expansion plan, Ito says

by Hiroko Nakata

Staff Writer

Honda Motor Co. plans to double its global auto sales to more than 6 million units in the business year to March 2017, compared with 3.12 million last year, on the back of strong growth in emerging markets, President Takanobu Ito said Friday.

At a news conference at Honda headquarters in Tokyo, Ito said sales in emerging nations will double to more than 3 million units in fiscal 2016, while developed countries will see sales surpass 3 million from 2.06 million in fiscal 2011.

“Achieving the target will depend on the Fit series, which is one of our core products everywhere in the world,” Ito said, referring to the lineup of compacts known as the Jazz globally. The company will introduce an all-new Jazz in 2013.

He also said the automaker will persevere in China, where protests against Japan have triggered boycotts of Japanese goods.

“We want to develop business with products that make Chinese people happy,” he said.

“Not only in China, but all over the world, we have made efforts to develop products that are rooted in local areas,” he continued. “We will never change this idea in China or anywhere else.”

Honda restarted all five plants in China on Friday after suspending operations out of safety concerns. Last weekend, protesters burned a Honda dealership and a Toyota Motor Corp. outlet in Qingdao, Shandong Province. Other Japanese plants and retail shops around China were also damaged by rioters.

In another development, Ito said delays have emerged from an increase in customs procedures, which had been anticipated.

Honda plans to launch more than 10 new models or full model changes in China for three-year period starting in 2013, he said.

In Japan, the automaker will maintain domestic production at 1 million units a year, despite the yen’s strength, by reinforcing its lineup of compacts and kei super-minivehicles.

Honda will introduce six new kei models by 2015, starting with the N-ONE, which is scheduled to roll out in November.

It also plans to launch an all-new fuel cell powered car in 2015 in Japan, the United States and Europe.

Toyota Indonesia gambit

NAGOYA/JAKARTA
Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning to triple car production in Indonesia to 300,000 vehicles to introduce at least four new models there over the next four years, Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo said.

“We plan to increase our annual manufacturing in Indonesia to accommodate 300,000 units in the near future,” Funo said at a news conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

Unveiling the new Agya, small passenger car designed for the Indonesian market, Funo said Toyota “will offer even more quality and enjoyable vehicles in the future to an even wider range of customers in Indonesia.”

Capacity at Toyota’s Indonesian plant on the outskirts of Jakarta came to around 110,000 vehicles in 2011 and will be ramped up to about 250,000 by mid-2014, company officials said.

“I have no doubt that the Indonesian economy will grow even further through our business,” Funo said at the 20th Indonesia International Motor Show, which opened Thursday in Jakarta.

Toyota announced Wednesday that, together with subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Co., it plans to launch the Agya and Daihatsu’s Ayla — both small fuel-efficient cars — in the Indonesian market.

The 1,000cc Ayla will be produced by Daihatsu at its Indonesian plant and sold under both the company’s and Toyota’s badges.