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2018 Honda Accord

Honda raises profit forecast, finds China surpassing U.S. as biggest market

Honda Motor on Friday stated it expected China would surpass the United States as its most significant market for automobiles in the coming years after higher sales in Asia triggered the automaker to raise its full-year profit outlook by 4 percent.

Honda, Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and other Japanese automakers presently count the United States as their most significant market. But Honda has experienced explosive development in China during the last three years, tempting consumers with new offerings in the sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment including its CR-V and Vezel models.

In 2017, its China sales jumped 15.5 percent to 1.44 million units, even as total vehicle market growth slowed to simply 3 percent year-on-year, the weakest in at least 20 years.

On the other hand, sales in the United States, for years Honda’s largest nation market, were mainly stagnant at 1.64 million vehicles in 2017, and substantial development is not likely given that total vehicle sales in the nation are commonly expected to pull away after peaking in 2016.

In the third quarter, Asia including China was the only place where Honda saw year-on-year growth in vehicle sales, while sales in the home, North America, Europe and other places dropped. Honda expects Asia to overtake North America as its most significant source of annual vehicle sales for the first time this year.

Honda has been increasing production in China, and Executive Vice President Seiji Kuraishi stated that a further, considerable rise in capacity would be difficult until it completes a new plant in 2019 through a joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor Group.

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