Higher global sales of cars, motorcycles and power products helped Honda boost its annual income by 13.9 per cent last year. But cost-cutting efforts and the weakness of the Yen against the dollar and Euro also contributed to the Japanese company's record Euro 63,393 million turnover.
Honda sold 6,095,000 motorcycles, 2,666,000 cars and 3,926,000 power products in the financial year to the end of March to achieve a Euro 4,747 million profit and is predicting that sales will swell by a further 10 per cent this year.
A new export drive will put thousands of British-built cars on U.S. roads this year. The first batch of four-wheel drive CR-V sport utility models has just left Honda's factory at Swindon, Wilts, and company officials expect to supply up to 60,000 examples to North American customers in the next few months.
Recently expanded, the Swindon car and engine plant produced 42,245 units between January and March - up 62.87 per cent on last year.
Honda's European operations have achieved further sales increases over the first quarter, with motorcycles up 8.9 per cent. While the total Western Europe passenger car market declined by
4.0 per cent over the January-March 2002 period, Honda's car sales increased by 1.3 per cent thanks to continuing high demand for Jazz, Civic and the all-new CR-V.
Honda talks about anything but cars in part of a new advertising campaign marking a radical departure in car marketing. Though the company devotes two sections of its major TV promotion to the new Jazz supermini and British-built CR-V sport utility model, the whole of another slot is used to outline its philosophy and the passion and imagination that lie behind the Power of Dreams slogan.
"Ours is the 20th largest brand in the world but we have yet to achieve our potential in the UK. This campaign gives us both a voice and a face," says customer communications manager Chris Brown.
Honda's UK car and engine manufacturing facility at Swindon, UK, achieved a record production of 42,245 units for the period Jan-Mar 2002, a 62.87 per cent increase on last year. With the major export production of the all-new CR-V to North America about to start, significant further production increases are planned. Output for this calendar year is expected to reach 185,000 cars, 60 per cent up on last year.
Honda of the UK Manufacturing has been awarded the new EMAS II (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) by the Vehicle Certification Agency. EMAS is a voluntary initiative designed to improve companies' environmental performances. Its main aim is to recognise and reward organisations that go beyond minimum legal compliance and have a formal Environmental Management System.
EMAS requires that a company must make a public declaration of its environmental improvements with the publication of an annual report. For further information see www.emas.org.uk
Honda is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its classic NSX sports car by slashing £10,000 off the price.
Featuring extensive revisions, the mid-engined supercar has even smoother lines, revised frontal styling and sits on bigger wheels for sharper handling. But after major price restructuring, the cost of the six-speed high performance Coupe now starts at £59,995.
The Japanese company has cut other prices, too. New 1.4i E versions of the popular Civic cost £9,995 in three door form and £10,995 with five doors despite boasting anti-lock braking, central locking and power windows as standard and a choice of exclusive paint finishes.
In S trim, the Stream estate is priced at £14,995 even though equipment still includes air conditioning and a £500 reduction has brought the cost of the Accord 1.8i S saloon down to just £13,995.
A new GT version is set to widen the appeal of Honda's zippy S2000 roadster model.
With a hard roof painted to match the colour of the bodywork, the GT offers a cosy interior environment, but its detachable top comes with a stand and protective cover for the times owners prefer wind-in-the-hair progress. At a £1,000 premium on the £25,995 price of the roadster, the GT saves £800 on the cost of purchasing a hardtop as a separate item.
Honda's Civic is way out in front when it comes to cutting the cost of family motoring, according to latest survey findings.
Experts at Fleet Management magazine say each car in the British-built hatchback range offers class-leading space, impressive performance and usefulness with good economy. But they describe the 1.6 S version's 20.9 pence per mile running cost as 'formidable'.
"The £12,460 list price is great value and includes air conditioning and an extremely efficient engine. Predicted fuel costs over three years are very reasonable, as are servicing and maintenance. And repair costs are easily the lowest," they say.
Not to be outdone, Honda's new Jazz supermini has made a strong start in CAP Monitor, the industry guide to likely values after three years and 60,000 miles. "At 43 per cent of the £8,995 new price, the 1.4 S Jazz is head-on with the Volkswagen Polo and ahead of the Ford Fiesta. This is very encouraging for a new model," says spokesman Jeff Knight.
Honda's CR-V has become Britain's most popular petrol-powered sport utility model. More than 3,800 examples of the UK-built car were sold during the first four months of the year, a dramatic rise on the total of 2,194 sales achieved in the same period last year.
"The previous model had a strong image, but the new version that was launched in February is proving to be a smash hit. It is winning the company a lot of conquest registrations," says Honda (UK)'s Head of Marketing, Stephen Hollings.
Honda's Insight has been named as the cleanest sports coupe on Britain's roads. The hybrid model, which has won awards for providing lively performance with average economy of 83 mpg and low exhaust emissions, is top of its class in the Environmental Transport Association's latest 'green' car buyers' guide. According to the ETA, the coupe with the worst environmental credentials is Jaguar's XK8.
In the first four-stroke engine 500 cc GP for nearly 30 years, Italian star Valentino Rossi won on his new RC211v Honda. The Japanese motorcycle GP was held at Honda's Suzuka circuit and pouring rain made racing conditions difficult. Rossi finished 1.5 seconds ahead of Suzuki's Ryo and Yamaha's Checa.
Weighing in at just 2.78 kg, the Japanese company's latest engine sets a new standard in portable power. But a big future awaits the little Honda GX25 - the world's lightest four-stroke motor is set to drive a wide range of hand-held power tool equipment. Developing 1.25 Nm torque at 5,000 revs, the 25 cc unit can be operated at any angle and is ideal for driving grass and undergrowth cutters.
Honda has developed a new thin film solar cell, capable of being mass-produced and which achieves the highest level of photoelectric transfer efficiency.
The new film is distinctive in that it does not use silicon. Solar cells using silicon have gained popularity in recent years as a clean energy source, however the high-energy requirement in their manufacture detracts from the overall environmental assessment.
Honda uses copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), and this results in a dramatic reduction in production costs. The CIGS material also provides the highest level of photoelectric transfer, some 20 per cent more than silicon, giving a power generation cost lower than conventional electricity generating power stations for household use.*
Honda will install these new cells in its production plants in Japan and other countries at the same time as selling to other companies with large-scale energy requirements.
*In the case of Japan
Honda has provided fans of the biggest powerboat championship series in the world with their own dedicated website. Launched in time for the start of the season at the Grand Prix of Wales on 18 and 19 May, the Honda Formula 4-Stroke site has information on entrants, their boats, news and the championship results table on (www.formula-four.com)
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