23 October 2018

GAC Honda Chinese team gets more say in product development

Guangzhou Automobile Group (02238.HK) has been clawing back sales lost by its GAC-Honda unit at the height of Sino-Japanese tensions over the disputed Diaoyu islands last year.

On top of that, GAC is also getting more say in product development and marketing.

With much fanfare, GAC-Honda rolled out its Crider {凌派} model in August, its latest stab at the mid-sized sedan market. Crider quickly became a hit with sales nearing 40,000 units as of October thanks to certain features and functions that can only be found in luxury sedans.

Honda also launched the ninth-generation Accord {雅閣}, its signature product which has sold more than 1.5 million units in the mainland since its debut 14 years ago. More than 10,000 new Accords were sold in October.

Behind these numbers is Honda’s unique approach to localization. It has established a research and development subsidiary in Guangzhou and given its Chinese partners more say in the development and marketing of Crider, a rare move for this Japanese auto giant used to centralized management and technological efficiency.

A senior Honda executive overseeing the Chinese operations told 21st Century Business Herald that some key components such as engines and gearboxes will continue to be developed in Japan but the actual specifications and marketing will be decided by the Chinese team.

Twelve new models scheduled for a 2015 launch will bear these hallmarks.

GAC-Honda sold more than 321,500 cars during the first 10 months, putting the 400,000-unit annual sales target well within its reach.

– Contact the writer at [email protected] 



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