April 23, 2014

Honda Forecasts a Lean Summer in Auto Sales

Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) has sent a memo warning dealers across the country it expects sales to drop nearly 40 percent this summer. While the sales have seemed to recover a bit from a dismal May, the company is still months away from normalized sales and production.

Honda expects to sell just 142,500 cars and light trucks during July and August, down from 221,166 for the same months last year. The memo, reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, seems to show bleak news in the short term. The Wall Street Journal reported that Honda’s memo warned that “It won’t be easy” to achieve even that reduced sales goal, and that inventory will be a challenge during the summer months. The company sold almost 91,000 units in May of 2011.

Eropean Auto Makers Ramp Up Production To Meet Demand

European automakers such as Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have all seen a resurgence in popularity this year, and now, with the disaster in Japan, these companies are beginning to feel pressure to ramp up production to meet an increasing demand. While the auto sector seems to focus on domestic and Korean brands as the big benefactors of production slow-downs with Japanese brands, the Europeans seem to have also seen an increased demand.

Volkswagen, with fresh new looks for 2011 is seeing their numbers increase with each passing month, and may be a logical alternative for buyers who are finding cars like the Honda Civic in short supply. The German automaker has already announced that they could keep one plant running on a volunteer basis during their normal summer shut-down. Meanwhile BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also adding shifts to better meet demand.

While production slow-downs for Japanese makers such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are not anticipated to cause major supply problems, the possibility of scarcity of some models is real, and other brands seem willing and able to fill the void. Car in the U.S. sales are anticipated to hit about 13 million this year, but recent sales months actually have the industry topping that number. Other indications of an overall auto industry recovery are showing up as well. GM announced a $2 Billion investment and additional jobs, Chrysler has seen major positives not seen by the company in years, and Hyuandi is quietly surging with much more attractive vehicles.

It looks like the usual summer shut-downs may not be happening in the normal manner this year as many manufacturers are keeping inventory levels at a point where they are barely keeping up with demand. If there is a major shift in demand to a particular maker, they will be very tempted to add shifts, or modify plant shut-downs.

Honda Debuts 2012 Civic Line At New York International Auto Show

Honda debuted their entire 2012 Civic line this week at the New York International Auto Show.  The Civic line, known for fuel efficiency, includes a gas powered Civic sedan and coupe, a high performance Civic Si Coupe, a gas/electric Civic Hybrid, a Civic powered by natural gas, and the all new Civic HF.  The HF was seen for the first time publicly here in New York.

The Honda Civic has been a mainstay for the brand for years because of its combination of style, function, and value.  Starting at just $15,605, these all new Civics will not disappoint.  So what is new about the 2012 Civic?  A full technology makeover accounts for most of the changes, but subtle style changes are apparent as well.  With gas prices climbing above $4.00 per gallon the fact the car has improved fuel economy by as much as 8% is change that has more impact now ever before.  The Hybrid model boasts 44 mpg city, higway, and combined.  This makes Civic the most fuel efficient sedan in the U.S. market.

The technology changes in the 2012 Civic range from entertainment, to handling, to safety.  A 5 inch LCD “inteligent” multi-information display (iMID) provides access to multiple customizable features.  Eco Assist technology helps drivers become more fuel efficient by providing feedback.  Safety technology used in the Civic includes crumple zones, air bags, air cushions, and a 4 channel anti-lock braking system.

Overall the Civic stays true to its tradition while evolving into a more stylish style coupled with the latest in technological advances.