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Honda unveils new SUV to boost Japan sales

Honda unveils new SUV to boost Japan sales
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First Published: Fri, Feb 23 2007. 11 19 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Feb 23 2007. 11 19 AM IST
Agencies
TOKYO: Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second- largest carmaker, introduced a new Crossroad “crossover” sport-utility vehicle in Japan as it aims to reverse a slump in domestic sales.
Tokyo-based Honda expects to sell 3,000 Crossroads in the country a month, the carmaker said on 22 February. The Crossroad will be priced between 1.93 million yen (Rs703,472) and 2.92 million yen and comes equipped with 1.8 and 2liter engines. The model will go on sale on 23 February.
The automaker, which last year surpassed Nissan Motor Co. in worldwide sales, is trying to boost domestic profitability. Honda expects to sell 0.6% more vehicles during this business year in Japan, where overall auto sales have fallen for 19 straight months as aging models failed to attract buyers.
“New models are critical for Honda.It’s important for Honda to do well with the model,” said Ashvin Chotai, a London-based automotive analyst for Global Insight Inc.
The SUV targets customers from rivals’ models including Toyota Motor Corporation’s RAV4 SUV, Corolla Fielder station wagon and Wish minivan, Nissan’s X-Trail SUV, Wingroad station wagon and Lafesta minivan.
“There is no competition for the model,” said Honda president Takeo Fukui at a Tokyo press conference. “The Crossroad may be the first of its kind in this market,” he added.
So-called crossovers combine features of SUVs and other model types. Honda said the Crossroad has the potential to compete with SUVs, minivans, compact station wagons, and even hatchbacks, which altogether account for annual sales of about 1 million units in the world’s third-largest vehicle market.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 23 2007. 11 19 AM IST
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