Honda expects to achieve record European car sales during 2005, against the overall market trend.

The total number of cars sold in Europe is forecast to be 285,000 units - an 11% increase on the previous year. The Jazz (Fit) has been a key driver in this record year and is expected to reach 80,000 units.

Honda has now targeted another record year for Europe in 2006 and plans to sell 310,000 vehicles, a 9% increase on this year's total.

The new Civic will play a key role in achieving this ambitious growth target, in particular the European-exclusive, UK-built five-door version. Honda will also launch a new Japanese-built petrol-electric Civic hybrid that has 5% better fuel economy and 20% more power than the outgoing model. Turkish-built petrol-powered sedans will also be sold in Europe.

Honda said on Tuesday it expects global sales in 2005 will rise 5% from a year earlier to 3.35 million vehicles.