For the first time in its history, Honda (UK) topped 90,000 car sales and breached 3.5% market share. The record results pre-empt celebrations for the marque’s 40th anniversary and coincides with record car production at the firm’s Swindon car plant.

This year’s star performer has been the Jazz, with sales up more than one third on last year and the model established as the UK’s second best selling 5 door supermini among private buyers. Single-handedly the model took more than one quarter of Honda’s UK car sales.

But the Civic remains the company’s strongest selling range of cars, virtually replicating last year’s 35,000 total, but with sales of the 4 door IMA rising by a quarter. Numbers of Civic 3 doors rose slightly, helped by buoyant sales of the Type-R - offsetting a slight decline in Civic 5 door popularity. The Civic remains Britain’s most popular British built compact car (C-sector).

Strong growth has also come from the Accord whose sales have increased by more than 50% following the introduction this year of the 2.2 i-CTDi diesel models.

CR-V numbers declined slightly, though the model remains easily the top selling petrol SUV in the country. Much stronger sales are expected in 2005, following the launch of the revised model with diesel option.

Popularity of the S2000 roadster has continued, with the model enjoying its most successful year in Britain - with sales running neck-and-neck with the Audi TT Coupe in 2004.

While Honda’s sales go from strength to strength, this has been matched by record production at the company’s Swindon car plant. This year’s output of 193,000 cars represents an increase of around 4.5 % on last year with a more equal split between Civic and CR-V models - mainly in response to increasing demand for Civics in mainland Europe.

"We’re really encouraged by this success, which is testament to a strong product line up, backed up by enthusiastic and hard working dealers," says Honda (UK)’s General Manager David Strangeway. "More important than this, is that we have considerably raised Honda’s brand status in Britain and made big improvements in customer and dealer satisfaction levels. We have raised the company’s awareness through clever advertising, made huge progress in corporate sales and we have won awards too numerous to mention."

Strangeway continues: "For 2005, our main targets will be to work with our dealers to continue to raise customer satisfaction until we are number one in the market. A happy customer will invariably buy again and encourage his or her friends to do likewise, plus it’s more efficient to retain existing customers than it is to win new ones. We also want to make people aware about the wider attributes of Honda, which include world class expertise in the fields of aviation and robotics, a huge commitment to environmental responsibility and improving safety for all road users - and of course our passion for motor sport.

"I would prefer to regard Honda as a quality-driven company rather than one which is sales-driven - and I am confident that if we are successful in these areas, our sales will rise inexorably. So don’t be surprised to see Honda breaking a few more records in 2005!"

Published : 05/01/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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