Petaling Jaya, 31 July 2008 - Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. today announced the company's decision to adjust the sales target set for the year 2008 from 33,000 units to 35,000 units, in view of the positive performance it has accorded in the first half of the year. The total number of units sold during the first six months stood at 16,769, against 14,177 units sold during the same period last year, representing an 18% increase. During this period, Honda's market share was 6% (TIV).
Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto expressed confidence in meeting the increased target despite a challenging outlook for the second half based on Honda Malaysia's earlier forecast of 520,000 TIV for the year.
Honda Malaysia attributed the good first half performance to the successful introduction of All-New Accord in April, and the continuing positive contributions from the City, Civic and CR-V models. The Accord, which recorded a robust booking of more than 5,000 units in its first month, currently has a booking backlog of close to 3,000 units and is well on its way to exceed its set target of 7,200 units for the full year.
Mr. Fujimoto remarked that the fuel price hike in the first half of 2008 can work towards Honda's advantage. "Currently, consumers are looking for cars that offer fuel efficient technology -- a feature that is well-associated with Honda cars. As such, we believe Honda is in a strong position to cater to consumers' current needs; and in view of this, we are optimistic that we will meet our increased target for the year."
Corresponding to the increased sales target as well as growing demand for Honda passenger cars, Honda Malaysia will be increasing its local car assembly production from 30,000 to 35,000 units. In comparison to the total units assembled in 2007, the production would have expanded by 10,000 units from 25,000 units last year.
Honda Malaysia received several recognitions for its brand, products and after-sales services earlier this year. Honda was named the Reader's Digest Asia Gold Trusted Brand Award in the car category in Malaysia. This is the 10th consecutive year that Honda in Malaysia was awarded this standing, recognised as one of the most representative and objective branding surveys in Asia. Honda also had the honour of being conferred the Brand Laureate Award 2007/08 in the Product Branding Category, recognised as the Best Brand in Automobile. Interestingly, Honda Malaysia emerged as a top winner among 33 automotive companies in the inaugural Asian Auto - Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) Auto Industry Awards 2008 held recently in July. Specifically, Honda Malaysia bagged 3 glorious awards: the Best Handling MPV with the Stream; Best Local Assembly Luxury Sedan for the All-New Accord 2.4; and the Best After-Sales Experience among all car companies.
In terms of its corporate social responsibilities, the Honda Dream Fund programme in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia, entered into its second year with the focus of reaching out to indigenous youths in the country. A visit to the indigenous communities in Sabah, Sarawak and Perak was held earlier this year to identify deserving young people to benefit from the fund. 20 students were selected of which 12 of them are from the indigenous group. These students will receive full and non-binding scholarships annually to pursue higher education or skills training under the fund.
Continuing its mission to increase awareness and build understanding on environment conservation and extinction amongst primary school students here, Honda Malaysia initiated the "Environment and I" contest in May 2008 under its "Save the Sumatran Rhino" annual corporate social responsibility programme. The contest aimed to motivate primary school students to care for the environment and reflect it through an essay matched with an appropriate photo. In total, 620 contest entries were received from young students nationwide. Additionally, the educational thrust under the programme was extended to schools in Penang through environment conservation talks.
In the arena of motorsports, Honda continued to share its excitement and passion for motorsports with Malaysians through F1 in March and the Super GT in June.
Honda Malaysia took its commitment to make driving safe for customers further by extending the Honda Safety Driving Courses to customers, which saw the participation close to 300 drivers in the first half this year.
Despite challenging market situation ahead for automobile industry players, Honda Malaysia has set its mind and is determined on meeting the increased target of 35,000 units. To this end, the company will be introducing more new products for the second half of this year, starting with the second generation Jazz in August.
To cater to increasing demand for sales and after-sales services, Honda Malaysia has already made plans to expand its dealership network nationwide. As such, more Honda 3S Center will open in the states of Pahang, Penang, Perak, Johor, and Sarawak in the next five months.
Rising to Honda's challenging spirit, the Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) aims to win the Merdeka Milennium Endurance (MME) 2008 Class-A Championship Title for the sixth consecutive year and the Overall Championship Title.
Finally, watch out for ASIMO, who is coming to Malaysia! Catch the newly improved ASIMO as he can now run!