Proiecte de viitor / noi planuri pentru HONDA / ACURA

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  • Proiecte de viitor / noi planuri pentru HONDA / ACURA

    Honda aims to nearly double car sales in four years

    Aims to sell 6 million cars globally in 2016/17

    * Fit and Brio models at core of product lineup
    * China plants resume production, but not operating fully
    * Honda readies for possible delays by China customs

    TOKYO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co aims to nearly double its global car sales to at least 6 million vehicles in four years, its chief executive officer said on Friday as the Japanese automaker tries to expand in emerging markets.
    The Fit, or Jazz, subcompact car and its series, as well as the small car Brio will be at the core of the company's product lineup so that Honda can reach its sales target in the year ending March 2017, CEO Takanobu Ito said.
    "This is quite a big figure for us and there were debates over whether we should make it public, but unless we set a goal and work to figure out how we can achieve it, our business operations won't be specific," he told a news conference.
    "Our car business depends on the Fit series and I am confident that this is definitely a core product in any region in the world."
    Honda aims to sell 3 million cars in Japan, the United States, Europe and other developed markets combined, up from about 2 million it sold in the year ended March, and double sales to 3 million cars in emerging markets including India and China.
    The Fit series will start to go on sale in Japan in 2013 and then globally in the following two years. The B rio was introduced in Thailand and India last year.
    The company will also aim to sell 25 million or more motorcycles globally in the year ending March 2017, the 59-year-old CEO said.
    Earlier this week, Honda suspended operations at five car plants in China after violent anti-Japan protests erupted in the world's biggest auto market, with some protesters destroying Japanese cars and setting fire to dealerships.
    All five Honda factories in China have resumed operations, but are not operating at full capacity as parts suppliers have also been impacted by the protests, Ito said.
    Following the rise in tensions, a delay in Chinese customs procedures is possible and Honda is making preparations to make sure its business will not be affected, Ito added.


    Honda CEO Ito announces new Civic Type R and new Compact SUV model (for Europe)

    • New Civic Type R for Europe in 2015
    • All new compact SUV model
    • 3 new hybrid technologies announced
    • Honda to launch all new fuel cell electric model in Japan, US and Europe in 2015
    • Total annual global customers forecasted at 39 million per year by 2017
    • New supers sports motorcycle based on MotoGP machines

    Honda CEO Takanobu Ito today outlined the product, technology and business developments that would drive a growth in Honda's total annual new customers to 39 million by fiscal year 2017.

    The announcements made by CEO Ito will see the introduction of exciting new products and technologies to the European market. Following the recent introductions of new Civic and new CR-V, these new models will further strengthen Honda's customer offering in Europe.

    New Civic Type R for Europe

    Thrilling, sporty products are part of Honda's DNA. In addition to the introduction of a new NSX, Honda can confirm the development of an all-new Civic Type R for Europe. The Type R brand has a passionate following from Honda customers and the new model will again aim to set new standards in performance and handling. Developed specifically for the European market and with the application of technologies developed through Honda's participation in the World Touring Car Championships (WTCC), the all-new Type R will aim to become the fastest front-wheel-drive vehicle on the Nurburgring race course. This new model is scheduled for introduction in 2015.

    New Compact SUV model

    Honda will strengthen its model line-up in Europe with the introduction of a new compact SUV model. Based on the platform of a next generation Jazz model, this new model will compete in the rapidly growing small SUV sector.

    New range of hybrid technologies

    Honda firmly believes hybrid technology will play a critical role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. Honda will build on its hybrid expertise to introduce three new hybrid systems. Each system will possess unique characteristics and their deployment will reflect varying customer needs.
    Firstly, Honda will further develop its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system with the aim of achieving No1 fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles. Improvements in motor output and battery performance and a newly developed transmission will help to extend the zero emission electric driving range.

    Honda is also developing a new more powerful two-motor hybrid system for mid-size vehicles.

    Finally, a highly efficient and high output 3-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) will focus on driving performance. This technology will be applied to the new NSX.

    Honda believes this range of new hybrid technologies will deliver unrivalled driving performance and fuel economy.

    Next generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle for Europe

    Honda considers fuel cell electric vehicles to be the ultimate environmentally-responsible technology and as such, has attempted to lead the industry in R&D and sales activity. The introduction of the FCX Clarity in 2008, demonstrated Honda's progress in this field. Starting in 2015, Honda will launch an all-new fuel cell electric model which will showcase the significant technological advancements and cost reductions that Honda has accomplished since the launch of the FCX Clarity in 2008. This model will be introduced to Japan, USA and Europe.

    Super sports motorcycle

    Honda is developing a new super sports motorcycle. Technologies from Honda's MotoGP machines will be applied to this model. This bike will seek to deliver the same passion and excitement that the RC30 (VFR750R) super sports bike created when first introduced in 1987.
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  • #2

    Honda working on new convertible sports car

    In a speech addressing his company’s future plans, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito has confirmed development of a new open-top sports car. Ito said the new model will have a focus on “strong vehicles dynamics” and that it will go on sale in Japan in 2014.

    There have been rumblings that Honda was planning a new sports car, including a report that a successor to the S2000 was being looked at. However, it is a comment made by Ito stating that the new sports car will be one of six new “mini-vehicle” models that are leading us to believe it will more likely be a production version of 2011’s EV-STER concept.

    At the launch of the EV-STER at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Ito revealed that a small roadster with a similar design to the EV-STER could be launched in the near future, though instead of solely packing an all-electric drivetrain like the concept the production version would likely adopt a gasoline drivetrain as standard.

    Ito pointed out during his latest speech that gasoline-powered vehicles remain the most widely used in the world, so development of internal combustion engines at Honda will continue.

    The question now remains, will Honda revive the CRX badge for its new roadster?

    Note, the new open-top sports car wasn’t the only performance model Ito announced during his speech. He also revealed that a new-generation of the Civic Type R based on the European Civic hatchback would be developed.

    The new car, which we’ve already seen prototypes of, will feature technologies developed by Honda from competing in the World Touring Car Championship this year. One of its design goals will be to be the fastest front-wheel drive vehicle around the Nürburgring. The current record stands at 8:07.97, which was set in 2011 by the Renault Megane RS Trophy.

    Sales of the new Civic Type R in Europe should start sometime in 2015.


    Honda to roll out diesel cars by March 2014

    Japanese auto giant Honda on Friday said it will launch its first diesel driven car in India by March 2014 and the engine for the same will be produced locally in the country.

    “In India, an all-new diesel engine will be adopted sequentially to new models starting in FY14 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2014),” Honda Motor Co Chief Executive Officer Takanobu Ito said.

    He further said the company will locally produce the diesel engines, thereby signalling setting up of a diesel engine plant in India in future.

    “In addition to the high fuel efficiency, the cost competitiveness of the all-new diesel engine will be enhanced through local sourcing and local production to make new diesel models more affordable for customers,” Ito said.

    Although he did not share details such as the engine capacities to be developed by its subsidiary Honda Cars India, a source said the diesel engine will first be fitted to a new sedan that is being developed at present.

    “In Asia, in order to compete in and win in highly competitive low-price markets and fulfill the diverse needs of customers, in addition to the all-new Fit Series, Honda will add sedan-type and utility-type models utilising the platform of the Brio,” Ito said.

    The company will further try to increase sales and growth in Asia by strengthening its “mutually complementary structure in the region, especially among Thailand, Indonesia, India and Malaysia”, he added.

    Honda Cars India has been facing tough challenge from its competitors as it does not have any diesel models. As huge price gap between petrol and diesel continuing to exist, auto makers offering diesel models are gaining market shares.

    The sales of Honda Cars India during 2011-12 dipped 8.47 percent to 54,427 units against 59,463 units sold in FY’11.



    Honda to produce supersport bike based on MotoGP RC213V
    Honda CEO announces development underway for a “new super sports bike” that harkens back to the RC30

    As part of his annual corporate fiscal year-end speech to Honda shareholders, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito inserted a little tidbit at the end of his discussion on what Honda plans for the motorcycle market that has set Big Red fans atwitter with glee. After talking about the future introduction of larger-displacement bikes based on the same “New Concept” design of the NC700X and the return of Honda’s racing involvement in the Dakar Rally, Ito made a brief remark about something that Honda hasn’t done since the headier sportbike days of the mid-90s limited production RC45:

    “Since its market introduction in 1987, the RC30 super sports bike has been loved by a large number of fans,” said Ito, as two visual displays on the wall behind him featured a photo of the RC30 next to a shot of the RC213V MotoGP racebike. “With a goal to create a new history, passionate Honda engineers have gotten together and have begun development of a new super sports bike to which new technologies from MotoGP machines will be applied.”

    And that was it. He then quickly segued into a discussion on Honda’s power generation business, but those two sentences had Japanese motojournalists quickly breaking out their smartphones and furiously texting away.

    There had been past rumors of Honda developing a V4 sportbike based on the company’s RC211V/212V MotoGP bikes, but most had dismissed those as the byproduct of wild and hopeful imaginations. And when nothing appeared on the horizon when each new-year models were introduced, those hopes continued to fade.

    But now that HRC has openly discussed producing a “production” version of the prototype RC213V as an alternative to the controversial CRT machines now populating the back half of the MotoGP field, the door is supposedly open for the company to produce a high-dollar, limited production variant of that bike in an even more detuned form to enable it to pass emissions and noise regulations for the street. Just as the RC30, RC45, and the V-twin RC51 existed solely for the purpose of racing homologation yet offered a glimpse into Honda’s formidable engineering prowess, this machine will most likely be a very expensive ($30K-plus) and exclusive corporate flagship. It’s highly probable that this new supersport bike will not be a replacement for the aging but still capable CBR1000RR, which still has the production-friendly components and construction to make it somewhere near profitable to produce.

    Whether this new supersport bike will be anywhere near the performer among its peers that the RC30 was—much less be an RC213V replica as many are claiming—remains to be seen. Honda is a much different company now than it was when founder Soichiro Honda was still alive. But surprises can happen.
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    • #3

      Honda CEO Confirms Euro Civic Type R, Fit Crossover, Beat Roadster

      Who needs a formal press conference in Paris to announce new global model plans? Honda apparently doesn’t. During a speech outlining Honda’s future market plans – including a goal of selling 6 million cars annually by the 2017 fiscal year – CEO Takanobu Ito touched on and confirmed a number of new products that are still in the pipeline.

      -Acura RLX: we already knew a fair amount about the forthcoming replacement for the aging RL, but Ito confirmed the completed, production-ready 2014 Acura RLX will make its public debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November, and on sale here in early 2013. It’ll be sold as the Honda Legend in Japan starting in 2014.

      Power will be provided by a 310-hp, direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6. Buyers will have the choice between a front-wheel-drive RLX model boasting all-wheel steering, or a all-wheel-drive model that incorporates Honda’s new, three-motor Hybrid SH-AWD driveline.

      Honda also says that all other Acuras will be “renewed within the next three years.” Seeing as the RDX, ILX, and RLX are all-new, that essentially leaves the TL, TSX, MDX, and ZDX open for an overhaul. We doubt the TSX will be renewed for another generation: not only does it brush against the new ILX, but Honda doesn’t plan on crafting a new Accord for the European market – which essentially leaves that product line dead in the water.

      -Civic Type R: Honda’s European press agency confirmed one a poorly-kept secret: an all-new Civic Type R is under development, and will be designed and sold primarily for European customers. We still don’t know if the new Type R will ditch its traditional supercharger in favor of a turbocharger, but Honda does note it borrows technology from its WTCC race cars — and the company recently showcased a turbocharged engine for its next-gen Civic racer. Honda also aims for the Type R to become the fastest front-wheel-drive vehicle to lap the Nurburgring. Honda is expected to show a Type R preview concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March, but the production car won’t be on sale until 2015.

      -Fit/ Fit Crossover: As previously reported, an all-new Fit subcompact is just around the corner. This is Honda’s true global car, but the next-generation model will be even more international. In an attempt to keep costs low, manufacturing will be performed in or close to markets across the globe. For instance, all U.S.-market Fit models will be built in a new plant in Celaya, Mexico.

      Honda plans to initially launch the Fit in Japan in 2013, but a U.S.-market model – along with a new crossover variant – will be introduced within the following two years. The Celaya plant should start cranking out U.S.-spec Fit models in the spring of 2014.

      -Microcar Onslaught: Honda has big plans for super-small cars. Ito notes it will launch six new “mini-vehicles” for the Japanese market by 2015. One example, the N-One, is patterned after the N Concept 4 and EV-N concepts, and is in turn inspired by the Honda N360 of the late 1960s. The retro-shaped hatchback should square off against the Mini hatchback and Fiat 500, though it’s unlikely to make its way to North America any time soon.

      If that’s not small enough, Honda also wants to further develop the idea of a micro-commuter car, much like the concept it showed at the 2011 Tokyo motor show. That design, which boasted seating for three and an all-electric powertrain, could compete squarely with the miniscule Nissan Pivo EV. No timeframe was given for production, but Honda aims to test such products in Japan sometime in 2013.

      Additionally, Honda promised new variants developed from the Brio, a low-cost B-segment car first launched in late 2010. Designed to appeal in price-sensitive emerging markets, the Brio first debuted as a five-door hatchback, but Honda says both a conventional four-door sedan and a “utility” model – likely a small crossover – are also on the way.

      -New Beat: Both the 2008 OSM and 2011 EV-STER concepts hinted Honda was interested in revisiting the idea of a compact, two-place roadster. Now it’s official: Ito noted the brand will launch a new open-top sports car – “with strong vehicle dynamics” – as part of its six-car microcar offensive.

      As Motor Trend reported in late 2011, the new car – likely to revive the Beat moniker – could utilize either a 1.3-liter or 1.5-liter I-4 with VTEC. A hybrid driveline is unlikely, though the car could utilize a dual-clutch transmission. Honda says the car should go on sale in Japan in 2014, but its global market roll-out – if any – remains a mystery.

      - Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Think Honda’s recent focus on electric and hybrid-electric vehicles means it’s forgotten or abandoned the idea of a fuel cell vehicle? Think again. Ito confirmed today an all-new fuel cell vehicle will debut in 2015, and allegedly is more advanced and less expensive than the present FCX Clarity.

      Honda says it will offer the new fuel cell vehicle in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. The 2015 target date means it could square off against a production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from Toyota, which is also scheduled to debut in 2015.

      -Hybrids: Honda will ultimately use three different hybrid driveline systems, allowing the company to match “characteristics depending on the model in order to fulfill the needs of more customers.”

      We’ve seen Honda roll out two new hybrid systems in recent months. The fanciful Hybrid SH-AWD is essentially the company’s piece de resistance, and will be used on both the Acura RLX luxury sedan and the NSX super car. A new two-motor hybrid system, which can function as both a series and parallel hybrid, was recently introduced on the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

      Honda’s traditional single-motor Integrated Motor Assist system – presently found on the Civic Hybrid, Insight, and CR-Z – will apparently still be used in the future, but it will be revised to allow for electric-only operation.

      Source: Honda
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      • #4
        Honda CEO: New Scooter Models For U.S & New V4 Superbike In Development

        In a recent speech given by Honda Chief Executive Officer, at an end of fiscal year event, Takanobu Ito spoke about the company’s plans for the next three years and its growth strategy for the different markets of the world. While the speech covered the entire Honda universe, he had a couple of interesting revelations to make regarding the Honda motorcycle business.

        Takanobu Ito announced that a new superbike is in the making that is based on the RC213V MotoGP bike, which will be the highly anticipated V4 engined superbike.

        “Since its market introduction in 1987, the RC30(VFR750R) super sports bike has been loved by a large number of fans. With a goal to create a new history, passionate Honda engineers have gotten together and have begun development of a new super sports bike to which new technologies from MotoGP machines will be applied.”, said Takanobu Ito

        Ito kept the announcement short and to the point, without going into the details such as when the new superbike model would come out or what it means for the current flagship superbike model, the CBR1000RR.

        Apart from the news about the new superbike, Honda also revealed plans about new bikes and scooters for different countries, the most exciting of which was the announcement of new scooter models for the U.S by 2013. These new scooters can be expected to be built on the same lines as the ‘New Mid Series’ scooter/motorcycle crossovers.

        “In the area of large-sized motorcycles, following the New Mid Series, Honda will introduce a series of large-sized models with a new concept, which enable customers to more easily enjoy daily commuting and weekend touring. This stylish new series will be equipped with a “torqueful” engine, low seat height which increases the ease of handling, and a comfortable ride with high stability in maneuvering. The production of the first model in this new series will begin in February 2013 at Kumamoto Factory, Honda’s global motorcycle production operation, and sales will begin from North America.”, Takanobu Ito explained.

        While both announcements lack details, we could expect to see a few concepts or even production version of some of the new Honda products at the upcoming Milan Motorcycle Show.


        HONDA plans more 100cc bikes for India

        After its split with the erstwhile partner Hero group, Honda Motor is planning to bring a bevy of 100cc bike models in the Indian two-wheelers market. This step comes as a part of the company’s strategy to establish itself as the leader in the country’s two-wheeler market by 2020.

        After two and a half year of separation from the erstwhile partner, Honda has taken this step to concentrate on its fully-owned domestic subsidiary. India is currently the second-largest two-wheeler market for Honda after China.

        “Using further growth in emerging markets, where continuous expansion is expected, as a driving force, Honda will continue to be proactive in evolving its motorcycle business. In India, Honda will strive to further grow its motorcycle business through introduction of highly competitive models in the 100cc segment, which is the largest segment in the motorcycle market,”Honda Motor Global CEO, Takanobu Ito, said in a speech in Tokyo.

        The two upcoming models from Honda are likely to be based on the ‘Dream Yuga platform’ which was launched by the company in May this year.

        In spite of little efforts in two and a half years Honda luckily has been the only major company to register strong growth in the last few months. The company registered a growth of 39 per cent and 57 per cent in the months of August and July respectively.

        In the months of July and August, market leaders Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS motors have also witnessed a giant decline in demand and establishment of inventories. The Japanese auto maker is also rapidly increasing its output.

        The company has two plants operational at Manesar in Gurgaon and Tapukara in Rajasthan. A third plant near Bangalore is expected to commence production by the first half of the next year, taking a huge annual capacity to 4 million units from the existing 2.8 million units.

        Sources informed that the fourth and fifth plant is also on company’s further plans one of which might be established in Gujarat.
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        • #5

          Honda's CEO say three hybrid systems, more ICEs coming in five year plan

          Honda CEO Takanobu Ito recently gave a speech outlining where the company will be headed over the next five years, with hybrid electric vehicles playing a major role. It is a massive company, and his keynote presentation forecasted where Honda's motorcycle, power products, and automotive businesses are heading. When it comes to passenger cars, the news is where the powertrains are going.

          Honda will use three different hybrid systems, Ito said. First on the list is its lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system that could take the lead in fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles. This is Honda's current hybrid system, but there will be improvements in motor output and battery performance, coupled with a newly developed transmission.

          Second, there's a two-motor hybrid system for mid-size vehicles. The 2014 Honda Accord plug-in is the first to feature Honda's new two-motor system, in this case with a new Earth Dreams i-VTEC 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine. This car is powered by a 137-horsepower gasoline engine teamed with a 124-kW electric motor. Honda says the new system will generate total system output of 196 hp, beating the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Chevrolet Volt and Ford Fusion Energi.

          Finally, a new three-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handing All Wheel Drive) will focus on driving performance. The highly efficient, high-output system will go into the new NSX, Acura RLX Sport Hybrid model, and the successor model to the Legend, which is scheduled to be introduced in Japan in 2014.

          It can be easy to forget how huge a company Honda is, and the role it plays in introducing new automotive technologies to market. Japanese colleagues Toyota and Nissan are more nimble at marketing the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, respectively. Some consider Honda to be a lot better at building great motors and engines for bikes, generators, and cars than it is at building strong brand image.

          Still, Honda has played a significant role in early launches of hybrid vehicles, its FCX Clarity fuel cell car and the Fit EV. To build on what Honda calls its "Earth Dreams" technology, the company will further develop full battery-electric EV models, and will launch an all-new fuel cell electric vehicle in 2015.


          Summary of CEO Speech on September 21, 2012

          In 2010, I set Honda's "Direction for the next 10 years" which is "to provide good products to our customers with speed, affordability and low CO2 emissions." Since then, we have been devoting our full efforts in leveraging Honda's unique technologies, ideas and ingenuity to create attractive products that please our customers who purchased such products. In addition, as a manufacturer of personal mobility products, we have been proactively executing various initiatives which contribute to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions.

          In 2011, we were forced to deal with the unprecedented appreciation of the yen and the temporary suspension of production around the world and the shortage of electricity due to the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the flooding in Thailand. However, thanks to the cooperation of our suppliers, business partners, and the efforts of Honda associates, we achieved a speedy recovery and as of today we are ready to make a counterattack.

          Since its foundation, Honda has been delivering various products with a passion to use technology to make people's lives more convenient and enjoyable. Our products have been pleasing customers all around the world by making their work easier, increasing their mobility and adding more fun and convenience to their lives. In the previous fiscal year (ended March 31, 2012), Honda shared the joys with more than 23.9 million customers around the world including: 15 million motorcycle customers, 5.8 million power products customers and 3.1 million automobile customers.

          In FY2017 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2017) -- the last fiscal year of our next 3-year mid-term plan we will strive to further expand the joys by meeting more than 39 million new customers around the world combining motorcycle, power products and automobile customers.

          【Motorcycle business】

          By leveraging the advantages of being the world's top motorcycle manufacturer, Honda will provide joys, fun and convenience to more customers. In FY2017 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2017), Honda will strive to achieve worldwide motorcycle sales of more than 25 million units.

          The motorcycle business is the origin of Honda, and its history tracks back to the production and sales of auxiliary bicycle engines when the main means of transportation in people's daily lives was a bicycle. In 1949, Honda introduced its first mass-production motorcycle product, the Dream D-type. From there, Honda has been continuously introducing a number of useful products including the Super Cub Series, which became the global best seller. Meanwhile, Honda had a global viewpoint from a very early stage and took on challenges for technological innovations. Participation in the Isle of Man TT Race since 1959 was one such challenge. Honda has experienced various difficulties in the past including the Asian currency crisis, hyperinflation and the rise in manufacturers of counterfeit products. However, even in the midst of such difficult times, Honda sustained its business with tenacity taking necessary actions such as strengthening local operations and global sourcing. As a result, Honda grew to become a motorcycle brand loved by customers around the world, producing a wide range of products in 29 production plants in 21 countries around the world and delivering the joys to more than 15 million customers annually. The know-how and established brand name earned through the early globalization of motorcycle business are contributing largely to Honda's global operations of power products and automobile businesses.

          Using further growth in emerging markets, where continuous expansion is expected, as a driving force, Honda will continue to be proactive in evolving its motorcycle business. In India, Honda will strive to further grow its motorcycle business through introduction of highly-competitive models in the 100cc segment, which is the largest segment in the motorcycle market in India, and through the start of production at the third plant in India which is scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2013. In Indonesia and Vietnam, Honda will lead the market by offering an attractive product lineup including scooter models, which have been extremely popular in these markets. In China and Thailand, Honda will continue evolving strong business in each market, while continuing the growth of the operation as the base for the global supply of parts and finished motorcycle products for other regions. In Brazil, where Honda has been growing its business along with the growth of the marketplace since the start of production in 1976, Honda will strengthen sales of medium and large-sized motorcycle models in addition to maintaining strong sales of key products such as the CG125 and CG150. Honda will continue leveraging its global production and sourcing capabilities, further advance its brand and technological strengths and create more joys by offering a broader product lineup to our customers.

          Honda will begin entering into new growth markets in Africa and South America. Further advancing Honda's approach to local production "start small, grow big" -- Honda will put down its roots in small markets in an early stage of their growth and provide local customers with strategic models which take advantage of Honda's global resources.

          In the area of large-sized motorcycles, following the New Mid Series, Honda will introduce a series of large-sized models with a new concept, which enable customers to more easily enjoy daily commuting and weekend touring. This stylish new series will be equipped with a "torqueful" engine, low seat height which increases the ease of handling, and a comfortable ride with high stability in maneuvering. The production of the first model in this new series will begin in February 2013 at Kumamoto Factory, Honda's global motorcycle production operation, and sales will begin from North America.

          With the best and brightest gathered from Europe, South America, the U.S. and Japan, together as one "works" team, Honda is getting ready for participation in the Dakar Rally in January 2013, for the first time in 24 years. The prototype machine, which is being developed based on the CRF450X, has been demonstrating high fighting performance on rough road surfaces such as the desert and rocky hills in various tests on engine performance, endurance and long-distance riding. In October 2012, this machine will be put in actual racing in the Morocco Rally to further refine its fighting capability. Honda will strive to win in the Dakar Rally from the first year of returning to the Rally.

          Since its market introduction in 1987, the RC30(VFR750R) super sports bike has been loved by a large number of fans. With a goal to create a new history, passionate Honda engineers have gotten together and have begun development of a new super sports bike to which new technologies from MotoGP machines will be applied.

          【Power Products business】

          Honda power products business began in 1953 with the introduction of an engine for agricultural equipment, which embodied Honda's passion to make working people happy through its technologies. Since then, Honda has doggedly pursued human-friendly and environmentally-responsible technologies and the delivery of useful "power" for every situation of people's life stages including generators, tillers, lawn mowers, snow throwers and outboard engines. Additionally, Honda will evolve a new product development approach which involves electromotive and intelligence technologies. At the same time, Honda will put more focus on a cogeneration unit, which Honda positions as the core of energy creation technologies of the future. In FY2017 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2017), Honda will strive to achieve worldwide power products sales of more than 8 million units and bring smiles to the faces of more customers.

          In order to fulfill customer needs, which increased especially after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Honda developed a new household gas engine cogeneration unit which operates autonomously even during a power outage. Combined with a hot water supply and heating unit, this new cogeneration unit is scheduled to go on sale this fall through gas companies as a new lineup of the ECOWILL brand.

          Moreover, Honda began development of a household SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) cogeneration unit in collaboration with NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD. Striving to achieve the world's top-level power generation efficiency for a SOFC-powered cogeneration unit, Honda will begin verification of the system using a demonstration test house featuring the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS).

          As a part of its effort to further reduce CO2 emissions in people's everyday lives including mobility, Honda has been participating in the E-KIZUNA Project run by the city of Saitama. Honda is currently conducting demonstration testing of HSHS using two HSHS-equipped houses. The construction of a third HSHS-equipped house is scheduled to be completed before the end of FY 2014 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2014). When the third house becomes operational, Honda will work together with Toshiba Corporation to link all three houses and conduct demonstration testing of energy management within the community, contributing also to the city of Saitama's plans to become an environmentally-responsible futuristic city. Honda will continue making progress toward the market introduction in 2015 of the Honda Smart Home System, which proposes the optimal energy management for individual households.

          In addition to continuing to provide engine-equipped products, Honda will take on new challenges to expand and increase the level of other new offerings that only Honda can realize or where Honda technologies can be useful to people.

          【Automobile business】

          In the area of automobile business, in order for Honda to quickly address the needs of customers around the world, Honda will implement global operation reform, which will enable Honda to realize the best vehicle specifications with competitive costs. Three key initiatives which will be taken as a part of this global operation reform are: 1) concurrent development by all six regions, 2) adoption of locally optimized design drawings and 3) improvement of production efficiency.

          This global operation reform has been implemented for the development of the all-new Fit (Jazz) series which will be introduced starting in 2013. Within two years after the initial market introduction of the all-new Fit in 2013, Honda will globally roll-out Fit (Jazz), City and a new small SUV model, each with different individual characteristics.

          As in the case of advanced nations, Honda will respond quickly to various market needs in rapidly-growing emerging markets while adapting each model to the industrial infrastructures of each country and region. Toward this end, Honda will pursue "concurrent development by all six regions", where each region participates in product development concurrently and at the same level from the early stage of the development. Introducing the same model in all regions within a short period of time enables Honda to secure a certain level of production volume on a global basis from an early stage of the product introduction, and the cost of parts sourcing can be significantly reduced by producing a large volume of parts all at once in the most competitive region.

          Meanwhile, in order to create products that directly respond to the voice of local customers while utilizing the local sourcing and production infrastructure to the maximum extent, Honda will adopt locally optimized design drawings. Honda is fully committed to maximize the joy of customers in each region.

          Honda will further improve production efficiency by dedicating new plants to the production of small-sized vehicles, such as Yorii Plant (SAITAMA prefecture), which will become operational in July 2013, and a new plant in Mexico, which will become operational in spring 2014.

          Honda will fulfill the unique customer needs of each region while expanding economies of scale in global sourcing and production.

          In Japan, Honda will strive to sustain its growth through advancement of the production system and capability and also through enhancement of the small vehicle lineup including mini-vehicles.

          In the area of production, starting in April of this year, development, procurement and quality control teams came together at Suzuka Factory to establish a speedy and highly efficient development and production system. While producing mostly mini-vehicles, Suzuka Factory is making progress in establishing a self-sufficient production system.

          The Yorii and Sayama Plants of Saitama Factory, will each have unique features and strengthen their own area of specialty.

          Yorii Plant, which will lead the global production operations of Honda, will be the world's top-class energy-saving factory which employs a number of innovative technologies. Through the introduction of new production technologies, Yorii Plant will establish a highly-efficient production structure, which will be dedicated to the centralized production of small-sized vehicles such as the all-new Fit Series.

          At Sayama Plant, a portion of two existing production lines will be consolidated to further advance the plant's multi-model production capability, so that the plant will establish a highly-efficient production system which is capable of producing more than 10 different models on the same line.

          In the area of sales, the N BOX, whose overwhelmingly smart packaging has been well received by customers, achieved the remarkable accomplishment of being the industry's top-selling car in the mini-vehicle category for five consecutive months in Japan.

          Honda will further strengthen the product lineup through the introduction of six new mini-vehicle models in Japan by the end of 2015, starting with the "N-ONE" model in Novermber 2012, the third model in the N series. In the small car category, the all-new Fit Series, which was mentioned earlier, will be introduced to the market. With overwhelming product strength, Honda will dramatically increase its presence in mature markets.

          In North America, in addition to the already popular Civic, CR-V and Odyssey, all-new Accord went on sale this month. Honda believes that the all-new Accord with a completely new engine and transmission which dramatically improved driving performance, occupant comfort and quality feeling will be well accepted by a broad range of customers. In addition to strengthening sales of these core models, Honda will begin producing an all-new Fit and a derivative model at the new plant in Mexico that will become operational in spring 2014. Honda will further solidify its North American business through enhancement of the product lineup and competiveness.

          In China, while strengthening local development capability, Honda will introduce products that put more focus on Chinese customers. For the Honda brand, the introduction of more than 10 new and full-model-change models is scheduled during the 3-year period from 2013 to 2015. In addition, Honda will continue introducing locally-developed original models to strengthen the product lineup in China. Moreover, amid introduction of the strictest fuel economy regulations in the world, Honda will further strengthen its competitiveness by proactively introducing environmental technologies such as hybrid technologies, where Honda has a competitive-edge.

          In Asia, in order to compete in and win in highly-competitive low-price markets and fulfill the diverse needs of customers, in addition to the all-new Fit Series, Honda will add sedan-type and utility-type models utilizing the platform of the BRIO, Honda's strategic model for Asia. Honda will strive to increase the sales and further growth in Asia by strengthening its mutually complementary structure in the region especially among Thailand, Indonesia, India and Malaysia.

          In India, an all-new diesel engine will be adopted sequentially to new models starting in FY2014 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2014). In addition to the high fuel efficiency, the cost competitiveness of the all-new diesel engine will be enhanced through local sourcing and local production to make new diesel models more affordable for customers.

          With these initiatives, Honda will increase its automobile sales in mature markets namely Japan, the U.S. and Europe from approximately 2.06 million units in FY2012 (fiscal year ended March 31, 2012) to more than 3 million units in FY2017 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2017). With proactive business expansion in emerging markets, in FY2017 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2017), Honda will strive to achieve automobile sales of more than 3 million units in emerging markets, doubling the sales of FY2012 (fiscal year ended March 31, 2012). By solidifying sales in advanced counties and growing dramatically in emerging nations, Honda will strive to achieve worldwide automobile sale of more than 6 million units in FY2017(fiscal year ending March 31, 2017).

          Honda will further advance its "Earth Dreams Technology," a next generation series of powertrain technologies which greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency at a high level through the improvement of internal combustion components including the engine, along with the transmission, and also through advancement of electromotive technologies applied to motors and other components.

          For gasoline-powered vehicles, which remain the most widely used in the world, Honda will continue developing internal combustion engines which will increase fuel economy to the ultimate level. Honda will adopt the newly-developed engine series first to the all-new 2013 Accord, and will continue to adopt it sequentially to other models.

          As for hybrid vehicles, Honda will adopt three different systems with unique individual characteristics depending on the model in order to fulfill the needs of more customers.

          As for the lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system, EV driving range will be expanded through the improvement of motor output and battery performance as well as the combination with a newly-developed transmission. Moreover, Honda will strive to achieve No. 1 fuel economy among all hybrid vehicles by improving the efficiency of regenerative energy recovery.

          In the area of mid-size vehicles, following the market introduction of the all-new Accord-based plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. in early 2013, a hybrid model equipped with a two-motor hybrid system will be added to the lineup. After the U.S. introduction, these models will be introduced in Japan and other regions. The plug-in hybrid model which will go on sale in Japan will be equipped with a compact inverter capable of external power supply, which was developed by applying Honda's generator technologies.

          Concerning the pursuit of driving performance, a highly-efficient and high-output three-motor hybrid system, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® (Super Handling All Wheel Drive), which realizes both a high level of sporty handling and fuel economy, will be applied to the NSX, Acura RLX Sport Hybrid model and the successor model of Legend which will be introduced in Japan in 2014. Honda will measure up to the expectations of customers eagerly waiting these models by highlighting the presence of these hybrid vehicles with unrivaled driving performance and fuel economy.

          As for battery EVs, this summer in Japan and the U.S., Honda began lease sales of Fit EV, which realizes the world's best electric energy consumption performance. In line with changes in the energy situation, Honda will continue its efforts to develop EV models with which Honda will strive to realize further market penetration of EVs.

          As for micromini-vehicles, which Honda considers to be one of the directions battery EVs can take, Honda will further advance the concept of a "micro commuter," which was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. While incorporating ideas and technologies unique to Honda, the only automaker which has both motorcycle and automobile technologies, Honda is making progress in the development of new personal mobility products. Honda is planning to begin demonstration testing of such products in Japan in 2013.

          As for fuel cell electric vehicles, which Honda considers to be the ultimate environmentally-responsible vehicle, and therefore has been leading the industry in R&D and sales, Honda will launch an all-new fuel cell electric model sequentially in Japan, the U.S. and Europe starting in 2015. This new fuel cell vehicle will showcase further technological advancement and significant cost reduction that Honda has accomplished.

          Honda will proactively introduce dream-inspiring and edgy products as well as exciting and fun products.

          In addition to the NSX, the next-generation super sports model, Honda will launch a new open-top sports car with strong vehicles dynamics which will go on sale in Japan 2014, as one of the six new mini-vehicle models.

          In Europe, in addition to the introduction of the NSX, Honda will develop an all-new Civic Type-R to fulfill customer expectations. With the application of technologies which will be cultivated through participation in WTCC (FIA World Touring Car Championship) starting this year, the all-new Civic Type-R is being developed with the goal of becoming the fastest front-wheel-drive vehicle on the Nurburgring race course. Honda aims to introduce this model to the market in 2015.

          In addition to a sports hybrid type of Acura's luxury flagship sedan, the all-new Acura RLX lineup will include a model equipped with Precision All Wheel Steer, the world's first technology which realizes excellent handling performance. The world premiere of the all-new RLX, which features uniquely Acura exterior and interior designs as well as the most advanced safety and environmental technologies, will be exhibited at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November of this year. All Acura models are scheduled to be renewed within the next three years. Acura will continue to strengthen its brand in North America and China, and expand into other areas of the world.


          Honda's telematics service, HondaLink, is designed to connect vehicles, people and society to realize a safe and enjoyable mobility society with low CO2 emissions. Honda will evolve HondaLink to more than 60 countries around the world before the end of FY2014 (fiscal year ending March 31, 2014). Moreover, Honda will continue its proactive commitment in various areas such as the expansion of robotics technologies including ASIMO technologies, contributing to child development and promoting traffic safety. Honda would like to continue growing while highlighting what makes Honda unique in order to further expand the joys for our customers and society.

          News Source: Honda
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          • #6

            Honda to launch next fuel cell-powered vehicle in 2015
            Takanobu Ito, Honda's CEO and president, revealed at a press conference late last week that his company will launch a brand new fuel cell-powered vehicle in 2015 at the earliest.

            Designed to be sold in the United States, Europe and Japan, the yet-unnamed car will take the form of a four-door sedan or a big five-door hatchback. It is currently being developed at Honda of America's Research & Development Center in Liberty, Ohio.

            Honda has been constantly making improvements to its hydrogen-burning drivetrain since it launched a limited run of the FCX Clarity in 2008. The brand's engineers are taking a close look at the data gathered by the pilot program as they develop the upcoming hydrogen-powered car.

            Precise technical details are not currently available but Ito hinted that the hydrogen drivetrain will work in conjunction with at least one electric motor, creating the world's first mass-produced hydrogen-electric hybrid.

            Like the FCX Clarity, the upcoming car will emit no carbon dioxide or harmful pollutants.

            "Fuel cell-powered cars are the ultimate, environmentally-responsible vehicle," affirmed Ito at the conference.

            What remains to be seen is if a big enough hydrogen infrastructure can be set up by the time the car hits the market. In most states throughout the U.S., hydrogen filling stations are few and far between and are only open to fleet customers.
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            • #7
              Honda to assemble motorcycles in Bangladesh


              DHAKA — Japan's Honda Motor signed a joint venture deal with Bangladesh's state-owned steel corporation BSEC Thursday to assemble motorcycles for the South Asian nation's booming economy, officials said.

              The Japanese automobile giant will own 70 percent stake in the company, called Bangladesh Honda Private Limited, with the rest owned by Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation, said BSEC director Mobarak Hossain.

              The venture will assemble motorcycles at a rented facility from next year with the first year's production target of 30,000 pieces, he told AFP, adding the parts would be imported from Honda plants in neighbouring nations.

              "But our plan is to manufacture motorcycle engines and other key parts in Bangladesh in about five years' time. We'll move to a permanent factory after two years and then gradually we'll increase production," he said.

              Sales of motorcycles have been booming in Bangladesh with the building of a road network that now connects almost every village and town.

              Last year 107,927 motorcycles were sold in the country, with a yearly growth of 22 percent, according to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, which keeps the data on new vehicle sales.
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              • #8

                Honda Civic Euro wagon body concept due in 2013

                A Honda Civic wagon will be added to the Civic range in the near future, with a concept version of the new model to be shown in 2013. Honda’s European President Manabu Nishimae announced this at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, where Honda exhibited new diesel versions of the Civic and CR-V.

                We last saw a wagon body Civic in the late 80s, and it was called the Honda Civic Shuttle. The wagon-loving European market only has one Honda model to buy now – the Accord Euro wagon. As customers downsize their choice of vehicles, it makes sense that Honda starts offering the wagon body for its C-segment contender in addition to the D-segment Accord Euro. Toyota also clearly had the same idea, launching for the first time a wagon version of the Auris at Paris 2012.

                Nishimae also announced that the CR-V and Civic Euro hatchback would be available with their new 1.6 litre i-DTEC engine. We test drove it last year installed in an Accord Euro.
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                • #9

                  Honda to launch diesel Brio sedan in April 2013

                  Things are finally beginning to take shape at Honda Cars India. After being troubled by two natural disasters in 2011, a not-so-easy break up with its erstwhile Indian partner and falling sales, the company is now on the verge of a turnaround in fortunes.

                  Come mid-October, Honda will first bring in the automatic variant of the Brio hatch. Expected to be Rs 60,000 to 70,000 more than the equivalent manual trim. Fast forward matters to a few weeks and the company will launch a CNG version of its best-selling City saloon. But the bigger news is what happens in 2013.

                  Honda is up and ready with a diesel engine for India and the first car to receive it will be a saloon version of the Brio. Expected to measure less than 4-metres, it will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Tata Indigo CS and the upcoming Verito compact sedan. Importantly, it will also be the first recipient of a diesel engine, a motor that is likely to be a common factor among all Honda cars below Rs 10 lakh sold in India.

                  This is a new motor that derives its genes from the 1.6-litre diesel engine that went on sale earlier this year in Europe in the Civic. Likely to be either a 1.4-litre or a 1.5-litre engine, this engine is being developed for the Indian market and will be exported from here to other markets as well. Major engine components for this engine will be made right here in India, thus increasing the localisation content. Little is known about the power and torque figures, but expect this motor to be offered in different states of tune for cars like the Brio, Brio sedan, the City and Jazz. Power figures could range in the region of 70 bhp to 110 bhp with torque in the region of 17 to 22 kgm. What is key here is that it is a four-cylinder motor and could feature Honda's i-DTec technology. Likely to be offered with a manual transmission for the moment, this motor will become the mainstay of Honda's diesel offerings in India.

                  Honda will launch the Brio sedan in April next year and it will also be offered with the 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine as well.
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                  • #10

                    Honda considers building new Accord Hybrid in U.S.

                    Nothing like dollars and cents to drive some good ol' patriotism, even if it's from overseas.

                    Honda will re-start production of the Accord Hybrid from Japan next year and may move the manufacturing of the model to U.S. by 2015 in order to cut costs, Automotive News reports, citing an interview with Honda chief engineer Chitoshi Yokota in the Japanese business daily Nikkei Nangyo.

                    The relatively expensive yen makes the prospect of producing the Accord Hybrid in the U.S. a cheaper one than in Japan. Yokota said the model needs all the help in can get because hybrids that are sold as variants of conventional models – like the Accord and Civic Hybrids – are harder to market than standalone hybrid models like, say, the Toyota Prius.

                    Honda will start delivering an Accord Plug-In Hybrid, which will have an all-electric range of as many as 15 miles, early next year. The conventional Accord Hybrid will debut later in 2013. The Japanese automaker hopes the variants will spur hybrid sales, which have been lagging this year. Through September, Honda sold 14,204 hybrids and EVs, down 47 percent from a year earlier. Honda discontinued the Accord Hybrid in 2008 after four years of production.

                    Earlier this week, we reviewed the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, and you can find our First Drive impressions are here.
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                    • #11

                      Honda may be warming up to the idea of a return to Formula One

                      Autocar in the U.K. reported on Wednesday that Yoshiharu Yamamoto, Honda's head of research and development, said that the manufacturer is evaluating Formula One's new 1.6-liter turbocharged-engine rules that will be introduced in 2014, with eyes on a possible return to the series.

                      “On a personal level, I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1—it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment,” Yamamoto told Autocar. “But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again [after withdrawing from F1 at the end of 2008].

                      “I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity, then it would be nice to go back.”

                      Honda will enter Civic Type R cars powered by 1.6-liter turbocharged engines in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) for the final three races of 2012, beginning with the Oct. 21 race at Suzuka in Japan. Honda plans to run the full WTCC schedule in 2013.

                      Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said that the company will follow the WTCC results closely.

                      “This is my personal view—not that of Honda—but I feel the first thing we must do is win in the WTCC, and then perhaps we can look further afield,” Ito told Autocar.
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                      • #12

                        Honda Confirms Production of New-Generation Beat

                        Takanobu Ito, president of Honda Motor said that a new-generation Beat model will be heading to production, bringing back the automaker’s mini-sports car. By the confirmation of the new-generation Beat model, rumors and speculations regarding the vehicle’s revival has come to an end. The rumors started when the Japanese automaker showed off its EV-STER Concept, giving the consumers a glimpse into its design.

                        The Honda Beat is the car that excites President Ito the most and he recently made clear that how his interest in the Beat came when the company started development of the new NSX. “When the Beat was being built, I was on the development team to work on the NSX sports car and sports cars are something I really love. I was kind of envious of the little cute sports car,” said Ito.

                        In 2011, the Japanese automaker announced that the EV-STER Concept was heading to production and now it seems the production Beat model will be purely based on the EV-STER Concept. Speculations say that the new Beat will be a true sports car to take on the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ. Also it is not clear whether it will be an electric vehicle.
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                        • #13

                          Next Honda Fit Will Spin Off Mini Crossover, Sedan for U.S.

                          Honda’s Fit is coming back as an all-new car next year—and it’s bringing friends. The upcoming hecho-en-Mexico Fit also will spin off two Mexican-made models for the U.S. market: A Fit-based small crossover and a sedan likely called the City. In a recent meeting, Honda’s U.S. CEO said that we’d see the Fit plus two derivatives in the States, clearing up any confusion from the company’s global boss, Takanobu Ito, saying a few weeks ago that the Mexican plant would build the “Fit, City, and a new compact SUV model.” Until now, we didn’t know if the latter two would actually be sold here.

                          Honda City

                          Originally developed for markets where customers downright refuse to buy hatchbacks, the current Honda City is a design coup: it’s a subcompact sedan that actually looks decent. Although Americans have become friendlier to five-door cars than have our counterparts in Thailand and India, where the City is a hot product, Fit sales have been hampered by the sole body style. At Ford, for example, the Fiesta hatch is a very strong seller—but it’s still outgunned by the dowdy Fiesta sedan two to one. The City could potentially double the Fit’s sales, which are on pace to just clear 50,000 this year.

                          Mini Crossover

                          Small crossovers may evoke the same gripe from you as ads for new singing reality shows—Another one? Shoot me now—but just as millions of Americans will tune out to “Vocal Cord Wars,” tens of thousands will buy Honda’s Fit spinoff. The CR-V, now in its fourth generation, is big enough for a smaller sibling, and Honda’s new jacked-up jackpot will join the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore, and an upcoming B-segment Jeep in the inchoate subcompact crossover segment.

                          Like you, we hoped that the announcement of Mexican-made Fit derivatives meant we’d be saying ¡Sí! to Si models. But Honda needs to get its mainstream house in order first, and building high-volume, lower-margin models in Mexico is a foundational move.



                          Acura, BMW and Cadillac eye Brazil's luxury car market

                          SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co said on Monday it plans to sell its Acura brand in Brazil beginning in 2015, making it the latest carmaker to aim its luxury vehicle range at the country's buoyant high-end consumer market.

                          Chief Executive Takanobu Ito announced the arrival of Acura at the Sao Paulo auto show, where Honda was not the only company eyeing a luxury car market that has grown nearly sevenfold in five years.

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                          "The rich are becoming richer in Brazil," General Motors Co's South American chief Jaime Ardila told reporters at the show. "It's time to start thinking about bringing Cadillac to Brazil."

                          Rising wages, especially for scarce highly skilled professionals, have made Brazil a bright spot in the global market for luxury goods. But both Honda and GM said luxury car sales in Brazil are still too slim to consider making it a base for producing their up-market offerings.

                          German automaker BMW AG , on the other hand, has decided to take the plunge with an investment of 200 million euros ($261 million) in a Brazilian factory announced on Monday after top executives met with President Dilma Rousseff.

                          The new factory in Brazil's southern state of Santa Catarina will begin producing by the end of 2014 at a rate of about 30,000 vehicles per year, Vice Chairman Ian Robertson told reporters.

                          That is a sharp jump from the roughly 15,000 imported cars BMW sold in Brazil last year, cornering nearly a third of Brazil's high-end auto segment. Luxury vehicles represent just 1.3 percent of sales in the world's fourth largest auto market.

                          SPOTLIGHT ON BRAZIL, CHINA

                          Ford Motor Co said in August that it would launch its luxury Lincoln brand in China within two years, but global sales chief Jim Farley said on Monday that the U.S. automaker has no plans to bring the brand to Brazil.

                          "We don't have any announcements to make here about Lincoln expanding beyond (China), but obviously as we refresh the entire lineup, we'll continue to look at where it makes sense," he told reporters at the auto show. "After we flawlessly execute there (in China), we can have more conversations about the global expansion."

                          GM is already pushing to boost Cadillac sales in China, the world's largest auto market, and hopes to compete for leadership in luxury car sales in the U.S. market within a few years.

                          GM's Ardila said while the company is considering selling Cadillacs, the brand portfolio will not expand to include either Europe's Opel brand or Buick. "Our brands in Brazil would be Chevrolet and Cadillac. Just that," he said.

                          Daimler AG's Mercedes was the first luxury automaker to build cars in Brazil, starting in 1999, but it ceased car production in December 2010 and switched to commercial vehicles.

                          Honda CEO Ito also announced plans to update the company's small cars in Brazil, the Fit and City, and bring a compact SUV into the market as part of a lineup overhaul beginning in 2014.

                          The new vehicles are part of Honda's push to sell 1 million autos in Brazil over the next five years, picking up the sales pace from about 93,000 vehicles in 2011.

                          ($1 = 0.7651 euros)

                          (Reporting by Brad Haynes, Ben Klayman and Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Additional reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia; Editing by Richard Chang)

                          Copyright © 2012, Reuters
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                          • #14

                            Refreshed '13 Civic scheduled for 11/29 onsale date

                            Over the weekend we received word that Honda has sent out a memo to dealers indicating that the 2013 Civic will be going on sale on November 29th, 2012. We're told that Honda is encouraging to sell off their inventory of 2012 models by as much as possible prior to that date, as the 2013 enhancements will make the 2012 model a "difficult sell".

                            It's our understanding that the car will be essentially identical to the 2012 Civic from a mechanical standpoint, but it's our understanding that there have been fairly significant styling changes to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. While we haven't seen the car yet, we've heard that the 2013 Civic will be getting a new hood design, a new grille, and new taillights which are said to extend further into the trunk now. It is said to look pretty much the same from the side view.

                            Below is an old spy shot of what we thought could have been a '13 Civic prototype captured in May. There is some camo tape on the rear but it does a pretty good job of masking whatever changes might be there.

                            The interior is said to have been upgraded not only in terms of materials, but also in feature count. Bluetooth audio, Pandora, SMS, etc. features are said to be standard in everything from the LX model up. The Civic will also be getting backup cameras but it's unclear at which trim level this feature will be standard.

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                            • #15

                              Acura to launch in Brazil in 2015

                              Seeking to capitalize on the fast-growing Brazilian economy, Honda says that it will begin selling its Acura premium brand in the market in 2015.

                              The announcement was made at the Sao Paulo auto show by Honda CEO Takanobu Ito. Similarly, Ito confirmed plans to expand Honda's lineup in the market with the addition of a new compact SUV in about 18 months.

                              Acura launched in the United States in the mid-1980s as the first dedicated Japanese luxury brand. Unlike rivals from Toyota ( Lexus) and Nissan ( Infiniti), Acura has been slow to enter other markets aside from China and Mexico.

                              Honda's decision to push Acura into Brazil further solidifies the South American country's importance to premium automakers. BMW announced this week that it will build a new factory in southern Brazil, while Rolls-Royce opened its first South American showroom in Sao Paulo last week. Over the last half decade, premium brand car sales in Brazil have increased seven-fold.

                              Acura's push into Brazil could help expand the brand's volume, a move the brand desperately needs after several missteps over the last few years that have cost it market share in the United States.

                              Honda has not said what Acura models will be sold in Brazil.
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