Concept C is a budget small car for China

Concept C is a budget small car for China

Honda unveiled the Concept C - a budget small car - and Concept S - a compact car - at the Beijing show and said that this was the start of a new growth plan that did not rely on the US. Both models were developed in China with partner Dongfeng Motor but the S could be sold globally.

"In the past, that kind of thing was always done in Japan," chief executive Takanobu Ito said. "This will be a global car, but it starts in China. We need to move further away from a US-centred global growth."

He said that Honda needed to catch up with its rivals in China by offering more products; last year the company’s sales in China fell for the first time.

Honda also said it would build a new car and engine assembly plant in China. The plants will boost annual output, including its export-only plant and factories operated with its other partner, Guangzhou Automobile, to more than 1m units a year in 2014 from 770,000 now.

The company, speaking to Reuters, denied earlier newspaper reports that it planned to share its hybrid technology with its partners in China.

"We definitely want to make use of our strength in hybrid technology in China. I think the technology will be very successful eventually, but not just yet," said Ito.

"Our first priority is to add more compact models and increase our sales volumes. There's so much more to do (before producing hybrid cars locally in China)."