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22 Jul 09 14:22
Honda's new president outlines silver lining in auto market '09 sales target to 84,000 units
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Bangkok (21 July 2009) – Honda aims to become the most admired brand by 2010 through a number of brand-reinforcement initiatives including ‘green marketing’ and customer bonding.

The company’s vision and mission goal was shared by Honda Automobile Thailand’s new president, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto, in his first ‘official’ meeting with the Thai media.

He added that Honda sees a silver lining in the auto market based on sales of its passenger cars during the first six months of this year. The company has revised upwards its sales target for 2009 from 80,000 to 84,000 units.

“We have always been at the forefront of addressing market challenges because Honda has a lean, smart and speedy management style. At Honda we love to challenge ourselves. We want to gain the trust of our customers in Thailand and achieve the No. 1 ranking in the J.D. Power’s passenger car customer satisfaction study. Honda wants to be a company that society wants to exist and which society cannot do without,” Mr. Fujimoto said.

Honda is committed towards exceeding customer satisfaction which it has achieved through continuous improvements in the world-class quality and innovative designs of Honda cars and its reliable after-sales services. Honda’s business strategy is based on effective corporate social responsibility that encompasses good corporate governance, pro-active customer relations management, and a commitment to technology and product innovations.

“We have implemented many various projects to connect with our customers such as the Honda LPGA Thailand, Honda Racing Fest’ and Honda Summer Fest’.

On environmental conservation, we have also put into action several environment-caring initiatives that involve our partners and customers. For example, the School Environment project, implemented by the Honda Group of Companies, and the Honda Foundation have allocated 70 million THB for tree-planting at Khao Sib Ha Chan, Chantaburi province. Additionally, donations from the Honda LPGA Thailand tournaments and from customer bookings received at Thailand’s annual motor shows are further directed at tree-planting activities,” he added.

The company’s commitment to environment-friendliness is also percolated through its entire dealer network, and its partners’ enthusiastic efforts to ‘go green’ are evident at their respective showrooms. Honda dealers are also raising the bar to improve their systems and efficiencies in their bid to exceed Honda’s global quality and environmental standards.

“In addition, safety and safe driving are important in our line of business. These areas are addressed through activities such as the ‘Bon Voyage – Be More Conscious…Be More Safe’ campaign, and the Honda Safety Driving Center. Our goal is to educate drivers on the basics of safety driving, and reinforce their driving efficiency and skills when they are behind the steering wheel,” he added.

Honda has a strong business case in Thailand, and its operations in the country remain strong. In April and May, Honda took the No. 1 ranking for passenger car sales in Thailand. For the first half of the year, Honda took 17.3% share of the total automobile market and captured 39.4% share in the passenger car segment. This year, Honda is targeting sales to reach 80,000 units.

Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is Thailand’s second largest manufacturer and exporter of passenger cars. Currently, Honda’s manufacturing facility in Thailand is the sixth largest in the world, after Japan, USA, China, Canada and the United Kingdom. It employs around 4,200 people at the Thailand plant.

Honda's Cars Thai unit lifts sales forecast by 5%

Honda Automobile (Thailand) has revised its 2009 sales forecast upwards by 5 per cent to 84,000 units, due to the increased popularity of smaller cars and the government's economic stimulus package.

The company, now placed second in the passenger car segment after Toyota, earlier forecast that its car sales would reach only 80,000 units this year.

In the first six months, Honda sold 39,967 vehicles, accounting for 39.4 percent of the passengercar market.

The firm now predicts it will sell an extra 4,000 cars, as more customers are turning to smaller models such as the City, Jazz and Civic.

"The government's efforts to boost economic activity are also helping sales, and the economy is starting to recover. Many people who would normally buy pickups are now considering passenger cars instead, due to the fuel efficiency factor amid rising oil prices," Atsushi Fijimoto, president of Honda Automobile (Thailand), said yesterday.

Fijimoto said he expected the shift from pickups to passengers cars to be longlasting and for the uptrend to be more prominent in the coming years.

The overall automobile market for the first six months of the year was 230,000 units, a 28 percent drop from the same period last year.

Both Toyota and Honda believes full year sales will be 480,000 units, of which 43.75 percent or 210,000 units are expected to be passenger cars and the remainder pickups.

Meanwhile, Fijimoto insisted that Honda's ecocar investment plan remained on track, although the size of the investment size could be affected by the poor state of the export market.

Honda currently produces 130,000 vehicles annually at its Ayutthaya plant outside Bangkok and has no plans to increase the number of workers.

Fijimoto said the company would also have to reconsider the government's requirement of producing at least 100,000 ecocars by the fifth year, as the market environment is different from two years ago when the condition was set.

He said the company's ecocar, which Honda will launch next year, would boost the Thai automotive market and encourage more consumers to shift to passenger cars.

All Honda vehicles are currently E20 fuel compatible, but Fijimoto did not mention any definite plans to introduce E85 compatible models.

"We are not sure if the fuel will be readily available in the future. It depends on the infrastructure of E85. As for hybrid vehicles, this is definitely the trend in the world's automobile markets, but there are as yet no hybrids in the Thai market. We will wait and see the response to the Toyota Camry hybrid," he added.

The shift to hybrid cars has been a quick one in Japan. Although the vehicles have been available for the past decade, it is only this year that sales have increased dramatically, mainly since the launch of the new versions of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
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