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by Tim Beissmann

Honda Australia remains confident it can sell 40,000 vehicles in 2012 despite delivering little more than 12,000 in the first five months of the year.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told CarAdvice the company was on track to meet its bold sales target despite a slow start to the year that has been hampered by supply from flood-ravaged Thailand.

“The second half needs to be a lot stronger than the first half, but yeah, we are [on track],” Collins said.

“Our expectations in the first half were pretty modest just because we didn’t have any stock, so really from here on in particularly with [Civic] hatch and CR-V coming later we’re pretty confident we’ll hit 40,000. But we need to up the running rate, that’s for sure.”

Honda Australia faced supply shortages of its Thai-sourced Accord, City, Civic sedan, CR-V and Jazz vehicles early this year, and was forced to import the Jazz Vibe and Civic from Japan for a few months to keep up with customer demand.

Collins said the brand was on track to deliver approximately 4500 vehicles in June, up almost 50 per cent over May, and acknowledged it would need to continue to hit 4000 sales per month for the rest of the year to reach its goal.

“The maths of it is about a 30 per cent increase on the first half, but with supply and new product and all those things lining up I’m confident we can do it,” he said.

Collins expects the new Civic to play a significant role in the brand’s second-half resurgence.

“We’re basically averaging 1000 [Civic] sedans [per month] as we set out to do, and we’re hoping most of the hatch volume will be incremental to that. By the end of the year we want to be at 2000 Civics [per month] and really have Civic as one of the dominant players in that small-car segment.”

With the new fourth-generation Honda CR-V not due in showrooms until November, it is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on sales before 2013. The new Honda Accord large sedan will join it in 2013.

Collins says the local division has its sights firmly set on continuing to increase volume in the coming years.

“We’re looking to grow to 50,000, if not 50,000-plus next year as a part of our three-year plan to get back to 60,000 [in 2014], which is where we were in 2007,” he said.

“It’s a rebuilding exercise and it’s based on new product and a whole host of things, but we’re pretty confident the market this year is going to be a million or there abouts, so it’s pretty healthy really – especially compared to some of the European markets that are really struggling.”




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