Phil Webb, Honda UK’s head of car, has admitted to BusinessCar that the company’s “tradition over the last few years has been limited in its range and limited in where we sit in the fleet market – and our focus possibly hasn’t been as strong as it could be”.

However, the brand is planning a “rigorous review” of its corporate strategy, following the arrival of the new more fleet-friendly HR-V lower medium crossover and the Jazz supermini – which are currently performing strongly – along with the new Civic, which is set to arrive in dealerships in early 2017.

Webb continued: “We’ve already got internal meetings going on about how we can get the right people in the fleet market in front of the car when it’s available, so we will be doing that over the coming 12 months – that’s how much profile we’ll be giving it.” This comes as Webb admitted that Honda hasn’t been “speaking to the right people” for two years, which has seen it fall behind other brands in terms of fleet prominence.

Currently, 70% of Honda’s cars end up with retail buyers, Webb said, although fleet is going to be crucial in meeting the brand’s ambition of hitting 100,000 sales: “You’re only going to do that in conjunction with the way the corporate/fleet markets increase.”

Economical new petrol engines will also make an impact, claimed Phil Crossman, Honda’s UK president: “I think the Civic and particularly the new engines will make a huge difference for us.”

A new CR-V off-roader is also expected at the end of 2017 and is likely to share the new Civic’s 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrol motors, plus Honda’s 1.6-litre diesels. Additional Honda hybrids are also a safe bet Crossman hinted, but these are likely to be conventional non-plug-in models: “Nothing confirmed at the minute, but I can’t see us being able to compete without having that.”

Honda dealers also need to focus more on the fleet market, claimed Webb – “We’ve already got a number of dealerships that are very, very strong in that area, but in my view there’s not enough” – who added that there’s nothing stopping half of the dealers establishing a strong fleet focus.