WUHAN, Hubei – Dongfeng-Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. (Dongfeng-Honda) has started a program to expand its current production capacity of 120,000 units by 40 percent through a revamping of its current facilities, according to a statement made by the company’s president Mitsuru Ozaki in mid-September.
Dongfeng-Honda sold 76,520 vehicles in the first eight months of this year, up 137 percent from the same period last year. Entering the fourth quarter of 2007, the company is about to exhaust the 120,000-unit capacity as it is still surging forward in its “sales sprint.”
Civic production trimmed
The new CR-V has made major contributions to the booming sales. Currently, many CR-V dealers have run out of stock, a pleasant surprise for Dongfeng-Honda’s senior management. The company had originally projected the monthly sales of the CR-V at around 4,000 units, but it is about to break 5,000 units, as per its current sales performance.
A Dongfeng-Honda 4S dealer in Beijing told reporters earlier, “Dongfeng-Honda has rearranged its production schedule to meet customer demands for the CR-V by cutting the production of the Civic.”
According to CBU-Autostats, the Civic and the CR-V sold 6,835 and 4,065 units respectively in July and 6,850 and 4,950 units in August, which contradicts the dealer’s assertion.
But the dealer explained that Civic dealers have’t run out of stock yet, so its sales number wo’t decline in the short run. However, the company is currently working extra shifts to produce the CR-Vs.
CR-V MT version debut delayed again
Word had it that Dongfeng-Honda would unveil a 6-speed MT version of the CR-V at the Changchun auto show this July, but the vehicle has never shown up to this day.
“We were informed that the CR-V MT version will go on the market in November,” said another Dongfeng-Honda 4S dealer. “Normally, OEMs as a routine, train its 4S dealers in advance on how to sell new models, but we have’t received any formal notifications yet.”
Currently, Dongfeng-Honda plants are operating overtime at full capacity to meet market demands. Once the MT version is released, demands for the new version will surely surge. So the company will probably hold the launch of the MT version until its production capacity is enhanced.
A source with Dongfeng-Honda also revealed that the company’s production and sales goal for the new CR-V this year was originally 40,000 units, but was lifted to 48,000 recently.
If the company is able to produce and sale more than 128,000 vehicles (including 80,000 Civics) this year, Dongfeng-Honda will use it as a bargaining chip while filing an application to Honda Motor Co., Ltd. to introduce an all-new model, possibly a Civic hatchback, or a B-class vehicle positioned higher than the Honda Accord.