Honda gaining momentum on the Big 2.5

Unless your current residence is beneath the Earth's crust, you probably know about the beating Toyota has been laying on the domestic automakers. Almost every month, Toyota's sales rise by double-digits while the Detroit-based competition endures losses. It seems there's constant debate over which US location at which Toyota will build its next assembly plant, and the gang from Aichi has a good chance to become the world's largest automotive manufacturer by sales volume in 2007.

Honda, too, has seen a steady climb in US market share with volume rising 50% in the past 10 years. Overall volume in the United States is now at 1.5 million units and Honda doesn't even have full-size trucks and SUVs like the competition. It's looking to expand its offerings with a planned V10 supercar and a new, more powerful Accord coming stateside by year's end. Incentive spending has been right around Toyota's levels also, with total spend at about 1/3 of the competition. Honda is also the technological leader in many non-automotive areas, with 12.7 million motorcycle sales in 2006 in addition to other businesses including robots, power equipment, and aircraft.

The automaker is also scoring high marks for quality. In the Consumer Reports 2007 Top Picks, Honda scored winners with Fit, Civic, and Accord -- a sweep in the volume passenger car categories. Positive results in JD Power initial and long-term quality studies have also helped keep resale values much higher than the domestic competition.

With domestic automakers taking aim at Toyota in a bids to gain back lost ground, they'd be well advised not to forget about Honda as well. Each year, it takes a little more share away from Detroit while flying under the radar asToyota registers as the 800 lb. bogey.

[Source: Detroit News]

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