Honda guns for top 10 sales spot in fleet
05 October 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Honda has described its new suite of engines as "class-leading"
Honda is gunning for a spot as one of the top 10 fleet manufacturers in the UK thanks to the new Civic, complete with forthcoming 1.6-litre diesel engine, and the new CR-V.
Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar, Gail Chambers, national corporate sales manager at Honda UK, said: "It's been difficult since the supply shortages in 2011, but now there's a new Civic coming to market, the 1.6 diesel engine and the top-end CR-V - it's right for us. This is really a turning point.
"We've climbed to just outside the top 10 in true fleet sales and we want to be inside the top 10."
At the end of 2011, Honda was placed 18th after suffering from a lack of product ahead of the new Civic's launch in early 2012.
Chambers described the CR-V as "our second-biggest opportunity for the fleet market". She claimed the addition of a cheaper front-wheel drive petrol model would broaden the car's appeal and allow it to steal buyers from the upper medium segment.
She also hinted at cleaner versions - likely a diesel engine for the FWD model - saying: "CO2 levels are going to be improved soon."
The CR-V should also be fitted with the firm's new 1.6-litre diesel before the end of 2013.
BusinessCar reported the firm's revised fleet team last month, with Lee Wheeler replacing Glass's-bound former fleet boss Ed Hummel, and Jon Jacks become national leasing and SMR manager following Ollie Parsons' recent move to BMW.
Chambers said that no major changes in Honda's fleet plans were expected: "When Ed came to Honda we changed direction. We decided that the cars are so well specced that they don't belong in the short-term market. Lee will continue with that."
Wheeler's role is a short-term one. "Once the new products are in place we'll then look at interviews. I think you're looking at a good six months [before any recruitment]," she said.
Honda added that a new Civic Type R hot hatch, a new small 4x4, three new hybrid systems for various sizes of car, and a new fuel-cell model are due within three years.
Reports also suggest the firm is working on low-capacity turbo petrol engines, due by 2015, to rival the likes of Ford's Ecoboost.
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