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Monday, March 12, 2012

Honda gears up to rebound for 2012

The double whammy of having to deal with both earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand has made 2011 a year to forget for Honda. The latter tragedy, in particular, almost completely crippled Honda's plans this region, with Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd's plant in Malacca entering a period of enforced shutdown.

Being ranked highest in the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 Malaysia's Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study was a celebrated silver lining in what was a very dark cloud. In addition, owners of the City, CR-V, and Accord also gave favourable feedback in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey 2011, ensuring the three models finished top in their respective categories.

“In spite of some setbacks, we managed to sell 32,482 units and retained our No. 2 position in the non-national car segment. The difficult year did end on a bright note, with the introduction of a star - the Honda CR-Z (picture above), which brought excitement to the hybrid automotive segment. 2011 was also the first year that the hybrid market emerged, and the Honda Insight became the best selling hybrid model with sales of 4,568 units in 2011 that represented 54% share in the segment,” said Mr. Yoichiro Ueno, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia.

Commenting on Honda’s plans for 2012, Mr. Ueno said, “2012 will be a better year. It will be a year of recovery for Honda Malaysia as we rise stronger from the challenges of 2011. I am pleased to announce that our manufacturing plant in Malacca will resume production on 20 March 2012 and will fully recover 100% production by the end of April 2012 with a production of 180 cars per day. Our highest priority at this moment is to reduce the backorders and to work closely with our dealers to ensure prompt deliveries." 

"On the day we suspended the production in October 2011, we had 2,900 backorder customers who were waiting for delivery. After our production was affected and we became unable to reply on the exact delivery timing, we still received a lot of additional orders and currently we have more than 5,000 backorder customers for CKD models. I would really like to thank those customers who understood the situation, accepted to wait for the delivery, and continuously gave support towards Honda through the challenging times,” Ueno added.

Looking ahead, the company forecasts that total industry volume (TIV) for 2012 will reach 618,000 units and it aims to capture 7.5% of this projected TIV. That target equates to sales of 46,500 units, an ambitious 31% growth from disaster-ridden 2011. The company currently has 1,000 orders for its newly launched CR-Z hybrid sports car, and has committed to significant investments with a new RM50 million warehouse having just opened in January and construction of a RM40 million pre-delivery inspection (PDI) centre under way.

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