If 2002 was a good year for the car industry in Britain, it was a sensational one for Honda. The multi-talented Japanese marque increased sales by more than one fifth, edging ever closer to 80,000 annual sales to achieve a market share of well over 3 per cent.
Locally built Hondas account for around three quarters of the total, led by the Civic (35,000 sales), CR-V (13,000) and outgoing Accord model (9000). The Civic is now established as second only to the Ford Focus among retail buyers in the petrol C-sector; the Type-R alone sold nearly 5000 units, accounting for more than one in three Civic 3-door models sold.
Further success comes from the Jazz, which took more than 12,000 sales in its debut year (in Japan, where the Jazz is sold as the Honda Fit, some 230,000 were sold to make this the top selling car). Meanwhile the number of S2000s sold more than doubled to 1100 units – and the improved NSX virtually trebled the previous year’s sales tally.
It’s a similar story on the manufacturing front. Having recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, Honda’s Swindon plant achieved both its highest ever production and export figures during 2002. Some 175,000 cars were built, with approx two thirds exported. More than 54,000 CR-Vs were supplied to the American market alone.
But Honda is not a company to be easily satisfied, and plans are in place for an even better year ahead. There’s good reason for such confidence.