NEW DELHI -- The Indian car unit of Honda Motor Co. said on Tuesday it expects a 40 percent jump in net profit in the current year to March 2004, helped by a nearly 50 percent jump in unit sales.
"We had a net profit of about 500 million rupees ($10.7 million) last year and should do about 700 million this year," Neeraj Garg, head of marketing at Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, told reporters at a news conference to launch its new Accord.
H. Yamada, the president of Honda Siel, told the news conference Honda would invest 2.0 billion rupees in India in the three years to March 2004 to upgrade facilities and launch new models.
Honda Siel is a joint venture of Japan's second largest automaker with local firm Siel Ltd. It has been in India since December 1997 and makes the mid-size City sedan and the Accord luxury family car at a plant on the outskirts of Delhi.
In July it will introduce its CR-V sports utility vehicle.
Garg said the company expects to sell 20,000 cars in the year to March 31, including 2,000 Accords, up from 13,363 sold in the past financial year.
Both of Honda's models are positioned in India's mid-size car segment, which makes up 18 percent of the domestic new car market of about 542,000 a year.
Honda has a 14 percent share of India's mid-size segment, where its main competitors include the Indian units of Hyundai, Ford and General Motors.
Garg said the company had no immediate plans to introduce a small car for India's high-volume compact market.
Honda officials said the company would introduce a new-look seventh generation Accord in India in July with a 2.4 liter engine and an Accord V6 with a 3.0 liter engine in January 2004.
The new Accord will have 25 percent local content and carry a showroom price of 1.47 to 1.57 million rupees.