By Paul Rachwal
Monday, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 3:20 pm
 

Honda President Takanobu Ito is confident that the next-generation Fit will account for 10 percent of all Honda car sales in North America by 2016. The car's assembly will be moved over from Japan to a new factory in Mexico as well, making it more profitable for Honda, which is currently struggling to make money on imported vehicles due to the high yen to dollar exchange.

Ito, in talking with Automotive News, revealed the plant will produce 200,000 Fits and related variants such as a sedan and crossover at the plant, with the cars meant for the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. markets. In 2011, the Fit, available as a five-door hatchback only, found 64,177 buyers, all of them imported from Japan. The single model made up four percent of all North American Honda vehicle sales then.

The president also believes the Fit will outpace even volume models such as the Accord, Civic, CR-V, and Odyssey. By the fiscal year that will end on March 31, 2017, Ito said Honda's target is to sell two million vehicles in North America. By the end of fiscal 2012, Honda expects North American sales to sit at 1.7 million.

The significant growth of Fit sales Ito predicts, or about 211 percent more than in 2011, will be helped out by a more competitive price thanks to the local production, its fuel efficiency levels, and better packaging compared to the current car.

The output of the Mexican factory will supplant Japan-produced exports to other markets, as needed, as Ito believes most of the 200,000 units from the Mexican plant will be sold in North America.