Seiji Kuraishi, head of Honda Motor Co.'s China operations, recently told reporters in Tokyo that the company will target sales in China of 730,000 vehicles in 2011, and a growth of more than 10 percent from the 650,000 estimated for 2010, as it strives to keep up with demand that is set to rise to 890,000 cars a year in 2013.
Honda has a majority-owned factory in India that produces the Fit/Jazz subcompact model for export to Europe and joint ventures with Dongfeng Motor and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
Kuraishi said that, to achieve fast growth in those markets, the key would be to launch in 2011 the proprietary brand of Honda's joint venture with Guangzhou, called Guangqi Honda. The first car under the brand, called Everus, or Linian in Chinese, will soon debut at the Guangzhou auto show.
Kuraishi recently said the Linian brand will be aimed at younger and entry-level customers. They represent a segment in the market that Honda has yet to reach.
He adds that while Beijing focuses on fiscal tightening and proceeding with plans to discontinue tax incentives on smaller cars in 2011, growth will be brisk in inland regions, which are taking the place of coastal cities as the major driver of car sales. [via autonews - sub. required]