Honda Motor Co.’s president, Tokanobu Ito, predicted that the subcompact Fit hatchback will lead a surge in Honda sales, accounting for 10% of Honda’s North America sales over the next four years.
Although Honda Fit sales in the United States rose 9% in 2011, the hatchback accounted for just 5% of the company’s U.S. sales. If the Fit does propel Honda sales, auto accessory dealers could anticipate demand for subcompact-oriented add-ons.
With a planned improved fuel efficiency, packaging and competitive pricing, Ito believes that the Fit will power North American sales 18% higher to his goal of 2 million vehicles by March 2017. Honda expects sales of 1.7 million, as reported by Hans Greimel of Automotive News.
Ito anticipates that the Fit will overpower sales of Honda’s current high-volume Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V, stating that the vehicle’s U.S. sales will rise after a redesign scheduled for next year.
In 2014, Fit production will begin at a new plant in Mexico, which will give dealers more vehicles to sell unburdened by the unfavorable dollar-yen exchange rate. In addition, the Fit will be offered with additional body-style options to give customers variety.
“With the Mexican production we won’t be producing just Fit itself, but we are going to start production of its variations at the same time,” Ito said. He declined to specify the next body style, but said: “We are thinking of a variation Americans will really love.”
It will be interesting to note how the Fit’s lower price and improved features will fare against competing hatchback, the Ford Focus. Ford reported its strongest October small-car sales in 11 years with a 54% year-over-year increase.