Guangqi Honda eyes sales rebound

Updated: 2012-02-20 11:05

By Han Tianyang (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Honda Motor Co's joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group in the southern city of Guangzhou plans to increase sales by 10 percent this year after numbers dropped in 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as a flood in Thailand, that interrupted parts supplies.

Guangqi Honda eyes sales rebound

With production back to normal after last year's earthquake and tsunami, Guangqi Honda has set a sales target of 400,000 cars in 2012. [Photo/China Daily]

The company said it has set a sales target of more than 400,000 vehicles for this year, up from about 362,000 in 2011.

It recently launched the 2012 Accord featuring interior changes and more safety equipment, along with a new City with a minor exterior facelift, to enhance the competitiveness without raising prices.

Guangqi Honda sold more than 160,000 Accords in 2011, making it the top-selling model in China's medium and high-end sedan segment for the fourth straight year.

Combined sales of the two cars accounted for nearly 80 percent of the company's total last year.

Yao Yiming, executive vice-president of the joint venture, said the company envisions the Accord and City will maintain the same level of sales this year, with the planned increase coming from two less-popular models - the Crosstour and S1.

The previous Crosstour model with a 3.5-liter engine failed to attract many buyers due to a tax increase on models with large engines. Guangqi Honda now plans to launch a 2.4-liter version this year with a sales target of 30,000 units.

The S1 is the first car from the joint venture's new brand Everus. Its other models - the Accord, City, Crosstour, Fit and Odyssey - all carry the Honda nameplate.

About 25,000 S1 cars were sold in 2011. The company expects to sell an additional 10,000 to 20,000 units this year, Yao said.

The joint venture also plans to import two hybrid vehicles to China this year. If they prove popular enough, they could later be made locally, Yao said.

He added that Guangqi Honda will truly start to take off from next year with more new, competitive models hitting the market.