Honda SA reported record sales across all its divisions at the end of 2007, despite an industry-wide drop in sales volumes.
The company's automotive, motorcycle, power products and marine divisions all demonstrated strong growth to end the year at record levels - despite tough market conditions and increasingly challenging economic trends.
Since Honda SA started operations as an independent subsidiary of Honda Motor Company in 2001, demand for its product range has steadily increased.
The subsidiary bucked the negative trend in the passenger car market, with its sales rising by 35% to reach 14 715 units. This was the highest growth percentage for any manufacturer in an industry in which overall sales were down by 10% on 2006 levels.
The sales figure also represents the highest annual sales tally for Honda vehicles in South Africa to date, including the period between 1982 and 2000 when the brand was under the curatorship of Mercedes-Benz SA.
Models that attracted particularly strong sales include the CR-V compact sports utility vehicle, the multiple award-winning Jazz and the decorated four-door Honda Civic sedan.
"We are confident that the Honda brand will continue to show positive sales growth as more South Africans recognise the engineering excellence and quality propositions offered by our car range," said Graham Eagle, General Manager Sales and Marketing.
"Although we predict tough trading conditions during the year ahead, we believe that the public will be attracted to those brands that offer enhanced value for money and long-term peace of mind when investing in a new car," he added.
Honda SA's motorcycle division also set new records and further consolidated its dominant position in the motorcycle arena by posting a 2007 sales total of 11 674 units - up more than 26% on 2006 sales figures. The result upped Honda's share of the motorcycle market to 26% overall.
While economic pressures are expected to stabilise the demand for motorcycles in most leisure segments, the commercial and fleet sectors continue to show encouraging signs of steady growth. Capitalising on this trend, Honda SA currently boasts eight out of the top ten best-selling commuter motorcycles on the market.
Honda SA Managing Director Hiroaki Shibata says there is great satisfaction in seeing Honda's product range received as positively in South Africa as it has been globally.
"Honda is the world's largest engine manufacturer, producing more than 23 million units per year. We will continue striving to improve our products, as well as the service supporting them locally, even further to ensure that more and more South Africans can experience the power of dreams," he concluded.