DETROIT -- Ten years ago this month, Dick Colliver thought he had called it quits.
After 20 years at Mazda, he was ready for retirement in Palm Springs. But things didn't work out that way. Instead, he was quickly snapped up by American Honda, where President Koichi Amemiya needed an experienced hand to steer his troubled Honda business.
Colliver didn't plan on staying long at Honda. But after a tumultuous start, his tenure has turned into a decade-long winning streak.
Now, at 63, Colliver wants to keep going. Last fall, he knocked on Amemiya's door and asked if he could work for five more years.
Amemiya said yes, and Colliver will lead Honda and Acura through 2007. And questions about succession at American Honda Motor Co. can be put aside for a while.
Since Colliver joined the company, combined U.S. Honda and Acura sales have soared to 1.25 million, nearly double the decade-ago level. Sales have risen each year since 1993. Significantly, sales continue to rise while American Honda's incentives and inventories remain among the lowest in the U.S. industry.
"I'm having fun and feeling good,'' Colliver said in an interview this month at the Detroit auto show. "I wake up every morning, happy that I'm going to work."
The executive vice president will be happier still if he can retire with a final notch in his belt by pushing American Honda past 2 million sales a year.
Things were tougher when Colliver joined. Before that first winter passed, U.S. prosecutors had revealed their investigation of bribery payments from certain dealers to American Honda managers in exchange for favorable allocations of cars.
About two dozen dealers and Honda officials eventually would be indicted. Some - including Colliver's predecessor, James Cardiges, senior vice president of sales - were jailed.