Honda’s redesigned Fit – sold as the Jazz is some markets – which goes on sale in Japan in September is expected to account for around 25% of global sales by the time the company reaches its target of 6m annual sales in 2017. Fit sales last year were 760,000 and Honda’s global sales are some 4m.

Putting so much reliance on a small car can only work if it is also profitable and Honda has done that by cutting its parts procurement costs for the new model by 20%, Hiroshi Takemura, who oversees Honda's small car operations, told Reuters.

Cutting costs meant adopting a global sourcing policy and buying the cheapest parts in large volumes and local sourcing of parts such as air conditioning units to suit local needs.

Honda has also reduced the time to market for the roll out of the new model; following its debut in Japan in September it will go on sale within months in North America and Asia instead of up to a year later as has been the case in the past.

Honda is also adding an SUV-style model to the hatchback and saloon (City) line in a bid to broaden its appeal. The Fit SUV will be on sale in Japan by the end of the year while the saloon – aimed mainly at markets like China – will be the last model in the line.