Since five years ago, Honda has been putting up a dismal performance in Europe. Its sales and market have been continuously dropping and its European unit has been posting losses. Honda Europe, however, plans to turn everything around by the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year -- with refreshed model lineup running on new powertrains at the vanguard of its renewed push for profitability.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc, Honda Europe President Manabu Nishimae detailed how the company’s European operations plan to become profitable again. Nishimae told Bolduc that Honda’s European operations plans to realize sales of more than 300,000 units, similar to the unit’s figures in 2007. To accomplish this goal, Nishimae said the company plans to update products as well as add new models.
The company also plans to sell more of the vehicles as well as auto components produced in Europe and to develop a stronger relationship with its dealers. Honda Europe’s president said that for the unit to be profitable by 2013-2014, it needs to fill up the capacity at its European plants in the UK and Turkey.
Nishimae admitted that the unit has yet to reach the optimal capacity at its plants in UK with 250,000 units and in Turkey with 50,000. Nishimae said that if the unit could achieve its full capacity, the plants could save money and Honda Europe could become less vulnerable to the yen/euro exchange rate.
During the interview with Bolduc, Nishimae said new products and powertrains will be crucial in the unit’s turnaround. This is the precise reason why the unit is renewing its entire European lineup within the next four years and it entire engine lineup in the next three years. The renewal will commence with new 1.6-liter diesel that will debut in the Honda Civic early next year. The company also plans to introduce new models like the NSX supercar.