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Guangqi Honda aims to glide toward a brighter tomorrow

By Hao Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2015-04-27 07:58

New models launch can help boost sales targets by 2020

Guangqi Honda hopes to increase sales to 1 million vehicles in 2020 after unveiling the latest City model and a new version of the Odyssey and the Crider limited edition in Shanghai.

Guangqi Honda Automotive Co Ltd, or GHAC, will launch the City car in the third quarter of this year and a new version of the Odyssey in the second half of 2015. The Crider limited edition will be unveiled to Chinese customers on April 27.

Mizuno Yasuhide, GHAC's general manager, expects to sell between 5,000- to-6,000 new City models. The latest compact sedan is designed for a younger generation and it will complete the company's move to update all its brands.

Yu Jun, executive deputy general manager at GHAC, revealed that company hopes to sell more than 550,000 cars in 2015, and hit the 1 million sales by 2020.

Mizuno was confident that the China-made Accord, Crider and the Vezel would sell about 100,000 units annually. This would lay the foundations for the automaker to hit its 1 million sales target in 2020 and make a major breakthrough in the world's largest car market.

Guangqi Honda sold 40,215 cars in March, 28 percent more than during the same period last year. This was company's best sales figures in March since the automaker started production in July 1998. The sales in the first quarter reached 96,527 units, climbing 18.2 percent year-on-year.

Sales increased 10.2 percent to 480,060 vehicles in 2014, just short of its 500,000 units target.

"The Chinese market is undergoing a big change," Yu said. "The company is embracing the change and becoming more innovative. Guangqi Honda is aiming at a brand that customers prefer and would select initiatively. "

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers' data showed that Chinese market grew 6.86 percent last year to 23.5 million units.

The company announced at the GHAC night event ahead of the Shanghai auto show that its premium brand Acura would be locally produced in China in 2016, together with the first new energy-saving car, the Funtec Hybrid Accord.

Guangqi Honda's third plant in Zengcheng, Guangdong province, is set to start production in the third quarter, with an annual rate of 120,000 units in the opening phase this year. The company hopes to double productivity to 240,000 in the near future.

The 2 billion yuan ($326.5 million) research and development center has now been completed.

The R&D facilities will be involved in concept design, exterior shaping, trail car making, road tests and components development.

The company will also localize engine productions this year, but didn't reveal the plant. "Guangqi Honda has been speeding up new models and FUNTEC technologies," Mizuno said. "All of the models have been replaced and the technologies were upgraded to give more and better options to customers."

FUNTEC is a combination of the words "Fun" and "Technologies". These involve boosting fuel efficiency as well as reducing emissions and securing driving safety.

Guangqi Honda aims to glide toward a brighter tomorrow

Senior executives of Guangqi Honda at the GHAC night event ahead of the Shanghai auto show. The company's premium brand Acura will start being locally produced in China in 2016. Hao Yan / China Daily

(China Daily 04/27/2015 page19)

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