Honda Motor Co.’s 2011 sales targets were dashed due to the Japan earthquake and Thailand floods but the automaker expects U.S. sales to make a rebound in 2012. Within the next 2 years, Honda will replenish its inventory and will launch new Honda and Acura models. The total U.S. sales surged by 14% but Honda was the only large automaker to have a drop in U.S. sales in October and November because of shortages in supply – the result of floods in Thailand.
This came after six months of declines – the result of reduced auto inventory prompted by the natural disaster in Japan.
When interviewed, Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda's top North American executive, said that he will be praying more to avoid any more disasters. He said that the recovery will begin next year or beginning this month. Honda, the No. 3 biggest automaker, is relying on the U.S. market for the biggest portion of worldwide sales.
From the start of the year through November, tight inventory and competition from Ford Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. and others reduced Honda's U.S. sales by 5.3%. So far this year, Honda's market share has dropped to 9% from 10.5%.
Meanwhile, the combined share for South Korean affiliates Hyundai and Kia increased to 9% from 7.8% the previous year. Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with researcher IHS Automotive, said that 2011 is a year to be forgotten. However, there are plenty of sales opportunities from the “heavy replacement demand.”