Europe: Honda wants to exit niche role image

Japan’s third-biggest automaker after Toyota and Nissan used to be a major player on the Old Continent, but the aftermath of the 2008-2009 economic crisis relegated to it to a niche position.

The automaker saw its sales dipping by more than 50% from the 2007 level and its position as a major competitor among Asian brands deeply endangered. Now Honda counts on new models and a revamped organization to recover its rightful place among the top players on the European market – ending the seven years of fading deliveries and struggles to return to positive financial results. “We’ve been waiting a few years for new product and now it’s coming, ” said during an interview Honda Europe sales chief Philip Ross. The automaker expects growing sales and better earnings margins from a combination of moves in the region: job cuts have been operated at its UK plant and the new HR-V subcompact crossover is expected to make an impact on one of Europe’s fastest-growing model segments.

The key model, which revives a name that Honda stopped using back in 2006, is expected to reach dealer lots in Europe next year, with the subcompact crossover targeting a new, younger, audience. IHS Automotive predicts the segment in which the model competes will swiftly double in size in Europe to 1 million units by 2020. This year already the forecasts expect sales of around 500,000 units for the competing models.

Via Automotive News Europe