Persevering on the path of greatness is no small feat
In our previous edition of this epic trilogy, Honda Malaysia had just ended its first decade with our fifth CEO, the late Mr. Toru Takahashi at the helm. At the time, Honda Malaysia was celebrating its 200,000th unit sold, a massive feat achieved all while embracing Honda’s philosophy: ‘Joy of Creating’, ‘Joy of Selling’, and ‘Joy of Buying’.
The Green Step Forward
After the resounding achievements, Honda Malaysia moved on to greener pastures, literally. In the year 2011, Honda Malaysia teamed up with Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah (MBMB) to strike a perfect balance between technological advancements and eco‑conscious efforts. Picking up on the local council’s call to arms, the two parties worked together to realise “MBMB with Honda Move Towards Greener Malacca”, which involved Honda Management and 200 Honda associates, along with the council members of MBMB.
In just a span of two days, the group planted a sum of 530 trees at Taman Bandaraya Bukit Serindit and around Sungai Melaka. The first tree‑planting session, which took place on the 14th of July 2011, saw YB Datuk Md Yunos bin Husin, then‑State Committee Chairman of Housing, Local Government and Environment welcomed Honda’s participation with open arms. He shared his hope that the event would provide a much‑needed boost of awareness on their efforts, and that local residents would join and contribute to build a greener Malacca. Many of the Honda Malaysia higher‑ups were in attendance, including the then‑Vice President of Honda Malaysia, Mr. Yuji Matsuzaki, and then‑Senior General Manager of Honda Malaysia Dato Azhar bin Abd. Wahab.
The second session took place on the 21st July 2011, and on top of the tree‑planting, the group also held a gotong‑royong at the iconic Sungai Melaka. This time, it was the then‑General Manager of Honda Malaysia, Mr. Azminuddin Mohamad’s turn to lead the pack.
Small, grassroots initiatives like these were paramount for Honda Malaysia, as globally, Honda is committed to the preservation of the environment. This joint venture activity also sought to maintain a positive image for Malacca as a hit tourist destination.
A Force of Habit: Shattering the Records
Now, it was Mr. Yoichiro Ueno’s turn to take up the mantle of Managing Director and CEO. He came to Honda Malaysia after having undertaken one of the largest markets for Honda, American Honda.
In Feb 2013, Honda Malaysia aimed to achieve 64,000 sales units, which was 10% of the market share at the time. Not long after that, Honda Malaysia achieved a new record high in bookings, registrations, and deliveries in its July sales. A sum of 6,039 units were registered, and 8,780 bookings were made.
This smashing result could be credited to the successful launch of the Honda Jazz CKD Petrol and Honda Jazz Hybrid, which saw a total of 1,434 and 1,107 bookings respectively; the Honda City, with 3,114 units booked; and the Honda CR-V 2.0 and 2.4 whereby the Honda CR‑V hit a new milestone for Honda Malaysia when it came close to 3,000 bookings in the first month of its launch.
The Honda Jazz CKD Petrol was well‑received by the locals, thanks to its affordable price of RM74,800 which made it the perfect option for the first‑time car owners, including fresh graduates. On the other hand, the green alternative, the Honda Jazz Hybrid also saw positive sales. This is because in June of 2013, in a step towards the right direction, Honda Malaysia had significantly reduced its replacement hybrid battery prices to almost half, and extended the warranty of the batteries to up to eight years. At the time, this was the longest hybrid battery warranty in Malaysia.
Half a Million in No Time at All
This milestone achievement, 500,000 units in 15 years, was an unprecedented success. Welcoming the happy news with open arms, Honda Malaysia chalked it up to two crowd‑favourite models: the Honda City, and Honda Civic. These two models amassed 209,056 and 79,864 units respectively, translating to about 40% and 15% of the overall sales in 2015. That year, Honda Malaysia’s target was to achieve 85,000 in sales units.
With this new level of demand, Honda Malaysia had their work cut out for them. Therefore, the brand looked to accelerating the expansion of its dealer network. Efforts are not just expanded in the Peninsular, but Honda Malaysia also made moves in East Malaysia by establishing a new Logistic Hub in both Sabah and Sarawak. Honda Malaysia also unveiled its new Regional Office in Kota Kinabalu. All these expansions would in the future support Honda Malaysia’s dealers’ operations and vehicles delivery process in East Malaysia, opening up greater avenues for more success.
Under the leadership of Mr. Katsuto Hayashi, Honda Malaysia expanded its goals, by setting the target at 100,000 in sales units for the 2016‑2017 financial year. In March of that year, the Honda City blazed in numbers, where the new model received 2,000 bookings in just ten days! By the end of that month, Honda Malaysia celebrated not only the one goal they have set out to achieve, but also the fact that the local plant in Pegoh, Melaka was hitting its 600,000th unit production, 14 years since Honda Malaysia kicked off local assembly.
Towards the end of the year, Honda Malaysia bid adieu to Mr. Katsuto Hayashi, and made way for Mr. Toichi Ishiyama.
Education is the Next Name of the Game
A few years down the line, Honda Malaysia began looking into education, and how the company can make a difference and empower dreams. To realise this vision, in September 2018, the company collaborated with the Ministry of Education to enhance technical training. Through this effort, the Honda training modules made their way into selected automotive syllabus.
That’s when the company signed a Certificate of Collaboration (CoC) with the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE), and Ministry of Education (MOE).
This was also the solution to Honda Malaysia’s growing numbers. As Mr. Toichi Ishiyama said, “This initiative is very timely as we are able to have more skilled technicians to cater to our increasing customers”.
17 community colleges across nine states in Malaysia were included in this joint effort, with more polytechnics and colleges slated to hop on board. This decision was in line with the government’s focus on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) towards developing more skilled and certified technicians.
The modules incorporated were the Maintenance Technician and Repair Technician modules, which were used to train the company’s world‑class associates. Students received holistic training, including a six‑month industrial attachment at Honda Malaysia dealerships, which provided them a greater foundation for when they journey into their career. Career opportunities at Honda Malaysia also awaited them.
A Royal Presentation
In 2019, Honda Malaysia made more waves in the media, and this time is for the company’s celebration of the Yang di‑Pertuan Agong (YDPA)’s official birthday. His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda The Yang di‑Pertuan Agong XVI Al‑Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al‑Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al‑Musta’in Billah was gifted the Honda Civic Type R and a grand handover ceremony was held at Istana Negara.
At the grand event, Mr. Toichi Ishiyama spoke to the attendees, “We are committed to offer products that are of high value and also advanced in technology to provide joy for our customers.”
Deemed the ‘Champion of Champions’ in the year 2017, it is an ideal choice as an escort car for the King. But that’s not all; the Queen was presented with her own gift courtesy of Honda Malaysia. For Her Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda The Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Binti Almarhum Al‑Mutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al‑Haj, the company presented its revolutionary Honda model, the Honda Civic 1.5L VTEC Turbocharged Premium.
No Time Like the Present
To this day, Honda Malaysia has kept its Challenging Spirit running at an all‑time high. As of January 2021, the company has maintained its undisputed No. 1 position in the Non‑National Segment for six consecutive years. For this, the company attributed the Honda City to the success. The model recorded the highest sales at 34% of total sales, followed by the Honda Civic, which swept 20% of total sales and also the Honda HR‑V that generated 17% of total sales.
Mr. Toichi Ishiyama remarked on the difficult year everyone had in 2020. “The year 2020 may have been challenging but we have managed to maintain our undisputed No. 1 position in the Non‑National Segment for the sixth consecutive year with 60,469 units sold and for that, we are truly humbled by the support we have received.”
2021 is also the year where Honda Malaysia hit its next milestone: 1,000,000 Honda cars sold nationwide. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the company went all out for the 1 Million Dreams campaign and gave away seven Special Edition Honda cars as a way to thank the Malaysians that fuelled this journey.
Visitors to the celebration were in for many fun activities with exciting gifts to be scored. The culmination of the event however, was the announcement of the Special Edition winners.
This is also the year where Honda Malaysia welcomes the first female Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Madoka Chujo. Her career with Honda kicked off 23 years ago in 1997, and over the years the illustrious Ms. Chujo has held multiple roles across countries like Japan, China, Spain and Canada.
Prior to this role, she was the Vice President at Honda Canada Inc., where she strategized the company’s Sales and Marketing since 2019. Rolling up her sleeves to continue the good work in Malaysia, Ms. Chujo had this to say: “I believe the automotive industry is in a period of once‑in‑a‑decade transformation, where the industry is seeking to contribute to a more sustainable society by focusing on environmental and safety issues. Honda is also committed to this direction worldwide.”
Now that you are well versed with our complete history since Honda Malaysia’s inception, maybe it’s time you checked out our convenient applications that make owning a Honda so much easier. To always stay on top of things with your Honda, download the HondaTouch using the Apple AppStore and Google Playstore now. If you wish to maximise the experience of your Honda City RS e:HEV, get started with Honda CONNECT. Of course, if you are looking to pre-book your favorite Honda, check this out to get on your way.