Fresh from celebrating its best-ever year for car sales in Britain – and the biggest year on year increase in Europe – Honda is off to a flying start in 2003. With sales up by 23% last year in Britain, the company is looking for further double digit growth in what has become the biggest Honda market in Europe.
It’s an ambitious target given that total car sales are expected to decline slightly this year. But with several brand new models (including the Accord) making their debut, some important upgrades to the existing range and some spectacular consumer deals in the offing, the company is very confident.
On the new model front, the much praised new generation Accord appears in dealer showrooms for the first time on 7 February, to be followed by the Tourer estate version on 3 May. The same month will also see the Civic IMA – which marries the Insight’s petrol/electric hybrid technology to a conventional four-door saloon body style - making its British sales debut.
March has become the busiest new car sales month, and this year sees the introduction of the new "03" number plate. Around one sixth of all new car sales take place in March, and for Honda that will mean approximately 15,000 cars to be delivered.
More than half will be Civics, the British-built 3 and 5-door hatchbacks continuing to be the company’s mainstay. Among retail customers, the Civic is second only to the Ford Focus in the petrol C-sector class, with the Type-R the fastest-selling fast hatch of all*.
Record numbers of CR-Vs are expected to be sold, the new version having established itself as the country’s most popular petrol SUV.
And the Jazz is fast gaining ground, having become the best selling single model in the Honda range in Europe last year with more than 40,000 sold.