Honda Wants To Halt Chinese Hemorrhage

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Both Honda and Toyota have consistently lost market share in China, which is even more embarrassing given the fact that Japanese brands in total still command the largest market share in the Middle Kingdom. This is helped by Nissan, which now holds a bigger share of the Chinese market than Toyota and Honda. Honda does not want to take it any more and is planning a counter-attack at the hearts, minds and wallets of the Chinese customer. Honda will even go as far as giving the Chinese cars that are custom-made for China.

The Nikkei [sub] had an interview with Seiji Kuraishi, chief operating officer for regional operations in China, and here is what transpired:

  • Apart from launching a new Civic in China, Honda will “also cut prices to a certain extent.”
  • Honda did set up a unit in Beijing that plans and develops cars specifically for the Chinese market. “The first dedicated model will make its debut at the Beijing Motor Show in the spring of next year.” Other made for China cars will follow “in the years ahead.”
  • Honda plans “to carry out verification tests on electric vehicles in November in Guangzhou and start local production by the end of next year.” The company thinks “mainstream cars running on renewable energy will be hybrids.”
  • Honda will release Insight hybrids and hybrid models of our CR-Z, Fit and Acura vehicles as imports from Japan. A new Civic hybrid will be introduced. Chinese production of these models is planned for “soon.”

The focus on hybrids is surprising. Hybrids are not selling well in China. The story that a single Prius was sold in China in 2010 has legend status. Subsidies for hybrids are not expected in China.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Spinjack Spinjack on Sep 16, 2011

    " This is helped by Nissan, which now holds a bigger share of the Chinese market than Toyota and Nissan." Huh?

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