Honda is planning for a 2020 repeat of last year's sales performance: It believes it can grow modestly in a down market by gaining share, particularly in light trucks, while also boosting dealer profitability.
While Honda expects total U.S. industry vehicle sales to fall to about 16.8 million this year, Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of the automobile division at American Honda Motor Co., told dealers Sunday that Honda still has room to grow.
Arcangeli expressed optimism about the sales climate at the Honda make meeting citing a growing U.S. economy with low interest rates.
The brand's strategy will be to defend its industry-leading passenger-car business while bolstering light-truck sales. Helping that effort will be the arrival this spring of the CR-V hybrid — Honda's first electrified crossover in the U.S.
Dealers were given a preview of a new Honda advertising campaign that focuses on the rugged, off-road capabilities of its crossovers.
"We talked about our goals for the year, maintaining our car business, capitalizing on our truck business and preparing for electrification," Arcangeli told Automotive News after the meeting.
Ryan Gremore, president of O'Brien Auto Team in Normal, Ill., said dealers were heartened by Honda's commitment to its product plan, support for dealer profitability and expansion of its certified pre-owned program.
Some dealers expressed hope for a stretched version of the three-row Pilot crossover and the development of an all-wheel-drive sedan, Gremore said, but didn't receive any commitments from the automaker.