After nearly a decade of falling or stagnant demand, Honda is on track to increase European vehicle sales in 2016 with EU volume rising 25 percent in the first 10 months. A new Civic and a slimmed-down lineup is helping the automaker. Honda’s top executive for the region, Jean-Marc Streng, shared the automaker's plans with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs.
You sold 132,640 cars in Europe last year. Will you ever reach 300,000 again as you did 2007?
We should reach 160,000 this year. We've set a target of 200,000. My best guess is that we'll reach that in two to three years. The Civic will be a major contributor to that.
Honda's UK plant in Swindon will build the new 10th-generation Civic five-door for export to more than 70 countries. How does replacing a car that was previously only built for Europe with a global car benefit you?
It's great to have this car. Our expectation is to go from 30,000 annual sales [of the Civic] in Europe with the current car to about 50,000 units.
Will the Civic's growth come from the UK or the rest of Europe?
All markets. But the UK is the No. 1 market. We expect it to take 25 percent to 30 percent of this volume.