Market Overview

Can Honda Really Double its Annual Sales?

Can Honda Really Double its Annual Sales?

Last fall, Honda (NYSE: HMC) announced that it planned to nearly double its annual sales to six million by the year ending March 2017.

This lofty goal is not without its challenges, particularly as the global economy continues to suffer. Nonetheless, the company still thinks it can meet this goal.

"I think we can [get there]," John Mendel, Senior VP of Honda's American division, told reporters at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. "Embedded in what you hear us talk about is we think this new global small platform is about a million and a half units of that two million jump. We see a rapidly expanding small car market globally. So that's a big piece of it. It's not just more Accords. It's not just more Civics. It's actually volume within a growing segment that we see as we go forward."

Mendel is very confident in Honda's ability to appeal to consumers' desire to have fun.

"I think that what we do better than anybody -- and I'll be bold enough to say this -- is the fun factor," he said. "We get the driving dynamics. We get why people buy cars -- because they're fun to drive. With this vehicle adding functionality to a nimble package, a flexible package, to something that gives them the ability to be comfortable in [the] city, on the highway, on-road or off-road, really kind of adds a dynamic to the small car segment that doesn't exist today. Small cars today, if you look at the existing entries, are really about commuting. They might be fun but they're street cars. They won't necessarily combine off-road capability to any great degree."

In fact, something as simple as "command seating" can help Honda sell additional vehicles -- including its newly unveiled Urban SUV Concept.

"We think given the propensity for the U.S. market in particular -- the strength of SUVs, crossovers, those kinds of things -- and also the positions of what we call 'command seating,' which is safety and comfort for a broad group of people…which is something people actually describe as a strength because they like this little bit higher view than a small car," said Mendel. "I can get a better view of the road, I feel more comfortable on the road. I feel safer. We think that this will give us the opportunity to tap that segment and grow and get a piece of that segment."

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