If you can keep your sales steady when all about you are losing theirs, then you'll be a man, my son, and rack up lots of market share. With apologies to Rudyard Kipling, that's the way it has played out for Honda so far this year.
Of the nine top-selling auto groups, only American Honda managed a sales increase in the first four months of 2008 — albeit a modest 1.5 percent. Honda has benefited from fuel-efficient cars such as the Fit (up a whopping 68.7 percent to 21,579 units this year) and an insightful lack of reliance on trucks and SUVs.
The result: American Honda is the newest carmaker to pass the 10 percent market share threshold.
The Honda and Acura brands clocked in at 10.1 percent share from January through April, up from 9.2 percent over the same stretch last year. They finished 2007 with 9.6 percent.
No. 5 American Honda also is cutting deeply into Chrysler LLC's No. 4 ranking, what with Chrysler suffering the largest share decline of the top carmakers this year.
In the first four months of 2007, Chrysler held a lead of almost 250,000 units over American Honda. That advantage had been trimmed to about 114,000 units during the same period this year. If the trend continues, Honda will overtake Chrysler in 2009.