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Motoring: Honda SA Shows Resilience


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Yoshiaki Nakamura

Graham Eagle

Barrie Barnard

2008 Honda Accord 2.4i Executive

Graham Eagle
Yoshiaki Nakamura
Brian Riley

Honda SA shows resilience

Despite a negative economic climate, and the substantial slow-down in vehicle sales, Honda South Africa continues to grow its share of the passenger car market.

Commenting on the company’s financial year-end results, which are calculated from April to March, Honda SA president and Managing Director, Yoshiaki Nakamura, says Honda dealers did the company proud by upping their share of the market despite negative market trends.

“Hondas accounted for 4,6 percent of all dealer channel sales in South Africa from April 2008 to March 2009, which equates to 9 544 units. However, perhaps more importantly, we have seen a steady growth in market share, from 3,8 percent in April 2008, to 6,6 and 6,1 percent in February and March 2009 respectively.

“These results are particularly encouraging against the backdrop of a global economic crisis that continues to compromise the motor industry both internationally, and here in SA.â€�

For Nakamura, who took the helm of the SA operation in April 2008, it’s been a satisfying first year filled with milestones and achievements. The growth in market share has been underscored by the launch of key new models, including the latest-generation Honda Jazz, and the award-winning Honda Accord.

Indeed, both models were nominated finalists in the 2009 SA Car of the Year competition, with the Accord eventually receiving the coveted accolade.

“I am convinced that the current Honda range represents the strongest line-up of models the brand has fielded in SA to date,â€� says Nakamura. “It’s a view supported by the exceptional track record of our products in the Car of the Year competition.â€�

The current Civic Sedan is also a former Car of the Year title holder, having won the award in 2007, while Honda’s hugely popular CR-V all-terrainer was a finalist in the 2008 competition.

Further confirmation of Honda’s product excellence has come in the form of the marque’s performance in the authoritative JD Power customer satisfaction index and quality surveys.

Honda and its products have featured strongly in both JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey (IQS) and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) for the past five years, with the Honda Jazz, Civic, FR-V and CR-V all featuring several times among the award winners.

The Honda brand took the top spot in JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey in 2006 and the Customer Satisfaction Index survey in 2006 and 2007.

In 2008, four Hondas won their categories in the JD Power CSI survey. The FR-V took the top spot in the compact MPV category, while the CR-V came first in the compact SUV category. Taking the honours in the lower small car category was the Jazz, while the Civic won the upper small car award.

“In the light of such positive results, Honda can look back on the eight years since it began operating in SA with a true sense of achievement,â€� says Nakamura. “I am also pleased to announce that we have decided to strengthen the local management within the company.â€�

Graham Eagle, currently Honda SA’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, has been promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing, while Barrie Barnard becomes General Manager for Motorcycles. Both Eagle and Barnard have has been with Honda SA since shortly after the company’s inception.

“We are placing an increasing focus on strengthening and empowering the local staff and management component at Honda SA,â€� Nakamura explains. “This not only underlines our ongoing commitment to the local market, but also recognises the very valuable efforts of our local staff complement.â€�
For more information, click on any of the links to the following related documents.

Honda SA steeds op dreef
Ondanks die huidige negatiewe ekonomiese klimaat, en die gepaardgaande afname in voertuigverkope, groei Honda Suid-Afrika se aandeel van die passasiermark steeds.
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