Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that Honda’s cumulative worldwide hybrid vehicle sales surpassed 800,000 units as of the end of December 2011. This milestone was reached 12 years and 2 months after the start of sales of the first generation Honda Insight in Japan November 1999, which delivered fuel economy of 35km/litre* then the world’s highest fuel economy among all gasoline-powered vehicles.
Honda introduced the first generation Insight, Civic Hybrid and Accord Hybrid equipped with Honda’s original lightweight and compact IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system. More recently, following the introduction of the second generation Insight in 2009, Honda introduced a total of six new hybrid models in the last three years to expand the hybrid vehicle line-up and sales. Honda’s annual worldwide hybrid sales for 2011 was approximately 200,000 units (up 30% compared to 2010), and Honda’s total hybrid sales during the last three years exceeded 500,000 units. In Japan, the ratio of hybrid vehicles exceeded 45% of all new Honda vehicle registrations for the month of December 2011.
As of Wednesday last, Honda sells seven hybrid models in approximately 50 countries around the world. In addition, the market introduction of the ILX, the first Acura brand model equipped with a hybrid system, is scheduled in spring 2012 in North America.
Under the global environmental slogan of ‘Blue Skies for Our Children’, Honda said it will continue its efforts to realize the further market penetration of hybrid vehicles to realize a low carbon society.
Honda announced recently too that it is resuming mass production of the new Civic with immediate effect as normal production resumes in its Swindon, UK plant. The company also plans to double its production volume in 2012 to 180,000 units.
The last three years have been difficult for all of Honda’s European operations. The economic downturn, together with two natural disasters in Japan and Thailand brought their own challenges. Production of the new Civic had been interrupted because the flooding in Thailand caused delays in procuring components for the new car.
Having overcome such challenges, Honda is committed to increasing its market share in Europe and this is demonstrated with the announcement of a significant production increase which will be achieved with the introduction of a second shift on Line 2 which produces the Civic next spring. Up to 500 new production jobs will be added.
The latest Car Reliability from Which? Car said: “Not only did Honda owners respond in the largest numbers to the 2011 Which? Car Survey, they also reported that Honda was the most reliable of all 34 brands we covered. That’s no mean feat, and it makes Honda one name that’s well worth remembering when it’s time to replace your car”.
That is praise indeed from the biggest survey of car reliability and owner satisfaction in the UK. The Which? Car Reliability survey, which asks car owners to rate their own cars, is calculated from the number of breakdown, faults and niggles suffered by all models in the last 12 months. The score for each of these are then combined to provide an overall reliability score for each manufacturer. As breakdowns are more serious than faults or niggles, they are given a heavier weighting than the other two areas.
Frank Kennedy of Universal Honda expressed his delight at this latest result: “The Which? Car Survey is very comprehensive in that car owners who live with their cars are the people who rate the cars. This means that potential buyers will be able to make an informed decision as how good it is to own a Honda which has been rated so highly by existing owners”.
Honda is up one place from last year when it came second.
Car owners are asked to rate out of five how satisfied they are with their car and also how likely they are to recommend the car to a friend. The results are then reached by combining the response to these two questions to award each car a Customer Score out of 100%.