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by Daniel DeGasperi

Honda has committed to achieving six million global sales by 2017, listing small cars as the key contributor to the growth.

“This March [fiscal year 2012], we will finish the fiscal year with global sales of about four million vehicles,” said Honda President and CEO, Takanobu Ito (below).

“By the end of our fiscal year in March 2017, we will challenge to have global sales of six million vehicles.

“And more than 1.5 million of this total will come from the launch of a new Honda global compact series. Including the new Fit [Jazz], the City, and an all-new compact SUV.

“I believe that small cars will be key to our future.”

Honda announced that a new, third-generation Jazz will launch in the second quarter of 2014, with production set to expand courtesy of a new production facility in Mexico to feed the North Amercian market. The Mexican facility will also build the production version of the Jazz-based Urban SUV concept previewed at the Detroit auto show, and a next-generation City sedan.

“[The Mexico plant is] set to open in 2014, it will build the next-generation Fit [Jazz],” Ito-san confirmed.

“It [Jazz] has been a great success everywhere in the world, based on the fun to drive spirit, high fuel efficiency and excellent packaging.

“I want Honda’s young engineers to feel the same joy I experienced in making fun and fuel efficient vehicles.”

Executive vice president of Honda America, John Mendel (above, left), backed his Japanese boss, saying that he expects small Hondas to drive sales in the North American region over the next four years.

“We expect small cars to be key to the needs of customers, and key to driving sales growth in North America.

“We’re confident in the continued expansion of the small car segment.

“We’re going to launch this 2015 Fit [Jazz] in the spring of 2014 [March 2014], which is going to build on the momentum we’ve already created in the small car segment.”

The next-generation Jazz is expected to arrive in Australia late next year, with sourcing expected to continue from Thailand.