With two weeks to go until the opening of the Beijing International Auto Show, Hond Motor (China) Investment outlined its mid-term business strategy for China, covering both the Honda and Acura brands. Overall, Honda will introduce more than 10 new and full-model-change Honda models during the 3-year period from 2013 to 2015, and is targeting a doubling of 2011 unit sales in 2015.
Within this year, Honda will introduce three hybrid models to the China market. All three models, the CR-Z, the Insight and the Fit Hybrid, are equipped with Honda’s original IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) lightweight and compact hybrid system. As the next step, Honda says it will introduce a new hybrid system more appropriate for mid- to large-sized vehicles as well as a plug-in hybrid system. (Earlier post.)
Honda will also introduce in China the new Acura NSX, which uses the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) hybrid system. (Earlier post.)
All Honda vehicles sold in China will shift to new engines that apply Earth Dreams Technology. The engines of all Honda brand vehicles will be renewed by the end of 2015. In this way, Honda will strive to realize the highest fuel economy in each vehicle category in the China automobile market.
Honda is also currently preparing to produce hybrid models locally in China, and anticipates that local procurement of key components such as batteries and motors will reduce costs in order to popularize hybrids in that market.
As for electric vehicles, Honda began demonstration testing in Guangzhou last year. Based on the results of this testing, Honda is preparing to begin local production at Guangqi Honda sometime toward the end of this year.
For Acura, Honda will introduce this year the ILX, a small-sized sedan, and the RDX, a small-sized SUV; introduction of the RLX luxury sedan is slated for next year. Starting in stages next year, the Acura brand is planning to introduce models equipped with new, relatively small-sized engines, for which demand is high in China. The powertrains of all Acura models also will be renewed by the end of 2015.
R&D. Honda is considering the establishment of a Honda design studio in China. The R&D teams of the joint venture companies, the development team of Honda China and Honda research centers in Japan will work together to enhance Honda’s R&D capacity in China.
Production. In July of this year, the second plant of Dongfeng Honda will begin production. Guangqi Honda is also making progress with a plan to build its third line and is aiming to begin production on this new line in 2014.
Motorsports. Honda says it will initiate the promotion of racing activities and expand the awareness of motorsports activities which haven’t yet gained great popularity in China. Honda will participate in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) starting this year. In addition, Honda will race on a spot participation basis in the China Touring Car Championship (CTCC), starting this year. For this year’s China Grand Prix in November, Honda will participate both in WTCC and CTCC.