TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. will add products and expand production in North America as part of a plan to double global vehicle sales to 6 million annually in the next five years.
In the fiscal year that will end March 31, 2013, Honda expects to post record sales of 4.2 million units. That would be up 35 percent from the prior fiscal year, when the automaker's sales were 3.1 million and output was hobbled after the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.
Demand for small cars such as the Fit/Jazz subcompact and new models planned in developing markets such as China and India will power the growth, CEO Takanobu Ito said today at a new conference in Japan.
In calendar 2012, Honda had worldwide sales of 3.6 million vehicles.
Honda said it will:
-- Build a derivative of the Fit at a new plant in Mexico. Honda didn't identify the derivative, but press reports in July said a crossover based on the Fit would also be built in the Mexico plant. Honda previously said it planned to build the Fit at the Mexico plant.
-- Show a production version of the Acura RLX sedan at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
-- Offer one-motor, two-motor and three-motor configurations of its "Earth Dreams" hybrid powertrain technology.
To reach the 6 million goal, Honda aims to sell 3 million vehicles in Japan, the United States, Europe and other developed markets combined. That's up from about 2 million it sold in the fiscal year that ended in March.
In addition, the company seeks to double sales to 3 million cars in emerging markets, including India and China, Ito told reporters.
The Fit subcompact car, known as the Jazz in some markets, its derivatives and the Brio small car, will be core products and help Honda reach the sales target, Ito said.
"This is quite a big figure for us, and there were debates over whether we should make it public. But unless we set a goal and work to figure out how we can achieve it, our business operations won't be specific," Ito said.
"To reach sales of 6 million units, the Fit will be very important and be the leader in volume sales," Ito said. "In terms of volume sales, our Brio compact, which we expect to expand sales of in emerging markets, will be the next-biggest."
The Fit lineup currently is produced in 12 countries, including Japan, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. The new Fit series will go on sale in Japan in 2013 and globally in the following two years. The Brio was introduced in Thailand and India last year.
The company will introduce 10 new and refreshed models in China by 2016, and a diesel model in India in the fiscal year ending in March 2014.
Ito said Honda will keep making 1 million cars annually in Japan, with a greater focus on 660-cc minivehicles that are selling well.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report