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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 13:22 GMT
Honda defies fall in Japan car sales
Honda civic vtece
Honda sales were up 18.8% on the same period last year
Honda has defied falling demand for new cars in Japan in February, showing a sharp rise in sales compared with the same period last year.

Overall vehicle sales in Japan fell 3.6% in February but Honda sales were up 18.8%.

Japan's four other main carmakers - Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda - all saw a fall in sales.

Market leader Toyota blamed Japan's economic slump and the number of new models introduced by rivals for its falling sales in the country.

In contrast all five companies have increased their exports.

Success strategies

Dr Peter Wells from the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School told the BBC's World Business Report he believed Honda's success can be partly attributed to the suitability of its products to the Japanese market.

% change in Japan car sales, February 2001-02
Honda (+18.8)
Mazda (-16.7)
Mitsubishi (-8.9)
Nissan (-8.6)
Toyota (-6.1)

The Jazz model has been particularly successful in Japan, he said.

Mr Wells said Honda's international strategy has also been key to its success.

"They... went international very early compared to the other Japanese producers... that long-term strategy has... been paying dividends for them over the last few years," he said.

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Dr Peter Wells, Cardiff University
"They (Honda) have the right product, at the right time, in the right place"
See also:

07 Feb 02 | Business
Carmakers slam weak yen
05 Feb 02 | Business
Honda speeds for profits
19 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Honda moves production to cut costs
26 Sep 01 | Business
Japan car sales rise
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