JAPAN: New Honda minivan heralds home market hopes - report
Honda aims to turn around its sluggish home market sales with a fully remodelled minivan to be launched later this month, company president Takeo Fukui said on Friday, according to Dow Jones.
The report said Honda plans to market its new Odyssey model from October 24 in Japan, an update of a vehicle that sparked a minivan boom in the Japanese market in the mid-1990s after its 1994 launch.
Dow Jones said Japan's second biggest car maker in terms of unit sales is targeting overall domestic sales of 815,000 vehicles for the current fiscal year through March, down 4% from last fiscal year.
While sales in the first half remained severe at home, "we're heading for our goal. ... we expect sales of this (new) model to grow strong," Fukui reportedly told a news conference.
In the April-June quarter, Honda's domestic sales totalled 153,000 vehicles, down 28.2% from the same period last year, while sales in July and August were down 17.3% and 14.9%, respectively, Dow Jones said.
The news agency said Honda expects 5,000 monthly sales of the new minivan model, which looks somewhat conservative when compared with monthly sales of the previous Odyssey models, which topped 10,000 at their peak, but Honda anticipates more competition in the minivan segment as rivals such as Toyota and Nissan have also aggressively promoted minivan models.
Annual sales of the Odyssey topped off at around 125,000 units in 1995, Dow Jones noted, adding that the new Odyssey will be marketed only in Japan.
Its predecessor was exported to Asia-Pacific markets and was also offered - badged the Shuttle - in Europe for a time.