Honda has said that it is on track to meet or exceed 2005 sales forecasts in Europe, where it expects future growth to hinge on the success of new diesel-powered models.

Shigeru Takagi, president of Honda Motor Europe, said the group was confident it would meet a target to sell 275,000 cars or more in Europe this year, according to Reuters.

“We are meeting that. I am confident we can achieve and possibly exceed that number,” Shigeru Takagi, president of Honda Motor Europe, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Frankfurt auto show.

Takagi said year-to-date sales for Honda Motor Europe were 11.5 percent higher than a year ago, and it planned to sell 100,000 units in the UK this year.

Takagi said Honda expected that, by 2007, sales of its flagship Civic brand would increase by 50 percent in Europe from 75,000 units in 2004.

Honda hopes the Civic will make a comeback in Europe through new diesel-powered models, Reuters reported.

The planned diesel-powered version of the Civic compact is due in January 2006.

“The next two years the most important part of our business is to build up a very strong business foundation with the new Civics,” Takagi reportedly said.