August News Briefs

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Going For Growth

Annual output of Honda cars is set to reach more than three million units over the next three years. According to new plans for global expansion, the company’s present production total of 2.7 million will grow to 3.4 million by the fiscal year ending 31 March 2005.

The increase will stem from a lift in North American production to 1.4 million and new output in China and Taiwan. Though present capacity of 1.3 million units is to be maintained in Japan, domestic market customers will be offered greater choice. Motorcycle production will rise from six million to 11 million and power product operations are to expand from 3.9 million to six million units, says the company.

Higher Sales In Europe

Car sales fell by eight per cent in markets across Western Markets in June – but Honda accelerated away from most of its competitors by achieving a 16 per cent rise in registrations. While industry sales have declined by 4.5 per cent so far this year, cumulative sales for the Japanese brand have grown by 9.8 per cent.

Honda’s showroom pacesetters include the new Civic 3-Door, with sales up a remarkable 186 per cent on last year, and the latest CR-V, up 20 per cent. The new Jazz supermini is also proving to be a winner, notching up more than 18,000 sales in just six months.

Honda fuel cell car ready for the road

By the end of this year, a few motorists in the U.S. and Japan should be driving the future in the FSX – the first fuel cell car to be produced by Honda.

Approval by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resource Board means the Japanese company will begin marketing its super-clean, 93 mph model sooner than was originally planned.

"In 1972, we were the first auto maker to pass EPA inspection for emissions regulations. Now, we are opening the door to the hydrogen age," said Honda President Hiroyuki Yoshino.

Due to the current limited supply of hydrogen, a total of only 30 cars will be leased to drivers in California and Tokyo over the next three years.

Home Heating - By Honda

The smallest reciprocating natural gas engine in the world is powering a clever new Honda unit to provide heat and electricity in the home.

Now under trial in Japan prior to being launched later this year, the cogeneration unit has cleaner exhaust gas emissions than conventional domestic water heaters.

Earnings Boost For Honda

Stronger sales in North America helped Honda Motor achieve a 10 per cent improvement in revenue during the first quarter of the current financial year.

But the weaker value of the Japanese yen also contributed to the company’s consolidated net sales of $16,208 million in the period to 30 June. "Had the exchange rate of yen remained unchanged from the same period in 2001, revenue would have increased by approximately 6.5 per cent," said a spokesman.

Consolidated net income of $900 million represented an increase of 20.4 per cent.

CAR NEWS

New Record For Honda UK Car Output

Record production at Honda’s manufacturing base in Swindon continues to boost the company’s success across European car markets.

But the output total for June – up 43 per cent at 13,386 units – was also a strong contributor to Britain’s export trade, with around 6,000 cars leaving for North America and Japan during the month. So far this year, production is 65 per cent up at 86,383 units.

Jenson Button Joins Honda

Jenson Button will be part of the Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda team next year.

In a four-year agreement, the team has signed up the British driving star for an initial two years with two further annual options. "I’m delighted to welcome Jenson – he has an extraordinary talent which now needs to be nurtured in the right environment in order for it to flourish," said team boss David Richards.

Said Button: "I’m thrilled to be joining B.A.R. This is an excellent opportunity for me to progress and ultimately achieve my ambition to be World Champion. I’m very impressed with the partnership."

Green Light For Green Civic

A super-economy version of the Honda Civic will go on sale in Europe next year.

Developed from the pacesetting technology used in the Honda Insight coupe, the Civic Hybrid is a Japanese-built four-door saloon that uses a 1.3-litre i-DSI petrol engine and an electric motor. The model that shows the direction Honda is taking for improving vehicle efficiency and environmental friendliness should be in the showrooms by spring.

Jazz – Car Of The Year

Honda’s Jazz has been voted Car of the Year by Auto Express, Britain’s best-selling weekly motoring magazine.

Launched in February, the supermini won the "supreme honour" accolade from the judges, who praised its style, innovation, sense of fun, spacious interior, high tech engine and good build quality.

Published 7 August 2002 Melanie Carter
 

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