Petaling Jaya, 12 January 2009 - Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (Honda Malaysia or the Company) remains confident amid the challenging financial market and announced that it would increase its 2009 sales target to 35,000 units, which is equivalent to capturing 8.8% of the Total Industry Volume (TIV) with a forecast as low as 400,000 units for the year, that indicates a drop of approximately 25% from last year's TIV.
"Despite all the negativity from the market, Honda Malaysia will continue to introduce new, refined products and innovations to the market this year, in hope to boost the market excitement level amid the gloomy situation," said Managing Director of Honda Malaysia, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto today.
He further added that the weakening market condition will not hinder the Company from doing its part for the betterment of the people. It will continue to serve the society wholeheartedly through its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
In 2008, Honda Malaysia registered a total sales of 32,486 units, and managed a positive posting despite the slight dip behind its target of 33,000 units set in January. However, the company still managed to achieve a growth of 14% on the back of 28,479 units in 2007.
Honda Malaysia attributes the positive posting to one of its newly launched models, the Accord, in addition to other continuous sales contributed by the popular Civic, 2nd Generation City, and CR-V.
Honda Malaysia ended the year of 2008 with a memorable flash-back of significant launches such as the 8th Generation Accord, 2nd Generation Jazz and the 3rd Generation City.
Just recently, in December, the 3rd Generation City had successfully charmed its way through the small to medium sized sedans category. The value-for-money sedan is now complete with dynamic stylish design, class-leading performance and ingenious practicality. It had received more than 4,500 bookings three weeks after its launch; the number is still counting.
The 8th Generation Accord, a sophisticated performance luxury sedan with advanced technology embraces four concepts - Powerful and Fun to Drive; provides Comfort; meets World Safety Standards; and attains maximum Fuel Efficiency, arrived in Malaysia in April 2008 and had since garnered commendable reviews. As of December 2008, the All-New Accord sales hit a record high of 7,310 units, which exceeded the initial target by 52%.
In August, the 2nd Generation Jazz, the Premium 5-Door Hatchback with best-in-class spaciousness, class-leading performance, good fuel efficiency and advanced safety features made headlines in local tabloids through a fashion runway launch.
In addition to the modest sales performance, Honda Malaysia received several recognitions for its brand. Honda Malaysia clocked another mile on the scoreboard of J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) and claimed the Best Entry Midsize Car with Honda City and the Best Midsize Car with Honda Civic. City has been recognised in the Entry Midsize Segment for 2 consecutive years while Civic is standing firm in the Midsize Segment for the 3rd year since 2006. Both models topped the scoring in Image, Product Quality, Product Styling, Performance, and finally Price/Value.
On the community front, Honda pursued its 2nd year of Honda Dreams Fund (HDF), a non-binding full scholarship awarded to eligible underprivileged youth based on their dreams. Working closely with UNDP, Honda reached out to the indigenous youth in the rural areas in the country in early 2008. Empowered by its motto, The Power of Dreams, Honda strongly believes that success begins with a dream and that the corporate figure is pleased to be a provider to materialise such dream.
In its 3rd year of pursuit, the Rhino Rescue Project in collaboration with WWF reached out to school children through its School Program, one of its initiative highlights that aims to educate the future custodians about the importance of conserving the environment in their daily lives. In addition to school visits, "The Environment and I" essay competition and photo contest were held as part of the awareness campaign. Since 2006, Honda Malaysia has reached out to nearly 6000 students in 28 schools nationwide.
Following its decision to withdraw from all Formula One activities thereon, 2008 was Honda's last season of participation. The Company will now be focusing on R&D in environmental technology and future technologies, which are increasingly important. It was indeed a difficult decision made in the best interest of sustaining the Company's core business activities and secures the long term amid the sudden contraction of the world economies. Guided by its challenging spirit, Honda will continue to strive to meet new challenges ahead.
Autobacs Racing Team Aguri who is also the 2007 Super GT Series Champion, Real Racing with Leon, Dome Racing Team, Epson Nakajima Racing and Team Kunimitsu once again rose to the challenge and pushed their limits in the Super GT 2008. As Super GT is not just a battle of speeds but a battle of minds, the teams had successfully demonstrated and showcased a high level of skills and teamwork spirit in addition to the advancement of the technologies.
Honda Malaysia, in further promoting the Merdeka spirit, fielded an entirely all-Malaysian team for the Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) 2008 race. Although the team did not win, the team successfully demonstrated great team spirit and motivation throughout the race. HMRT is a platform for Honda to develop and nurture local talents in the field of Motorsports.
Honda Malaysia expanded its network in Kuantan and Ipoh with a new total of 55 dealers nationwide. The following openings would be in Johor Bahru, Penang and Sarawak. The expansion plan is part of Honda's commitment in achieving No. 1 customer satisfaction. Honda Malaysia targets to achieve 60 dealerships by the end of 2010.
This year, more than 200 Honda owners (together with their partners) attended the Safety Driving Course, one of the highlights of its Customer Satisfaction initiatives. Introduced in 2004, Honda Malaysia has trained close to 1,000 Honda owners and their partners in acquiring safe driving skills and techniques through this specially arranged Safety Driving Course. The initiative aims at addressing the human factor in driving, thus reducing road accidents caused by human error.
Despite the challenging times ahead, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto assures his customers that Honda Malaysia will continue to place customer satisfaction as its priority, and continue its effort in providing the best product quality, sales and after-sales services at reasonable price; while continuing to serve the market and society wholeheartedly.