Japan’s third largest motor manufacturer, Honda Motor, expects global car sales to rise 10 per cent next year thanks to the North American and Chinese markets.

Japan’s third largest motor manufacturer, Honda Motor, expects global car sales to rise 10 per cent next year thanks to the North American and Chinese markets.

The predicted increase should propel sales to a record 3,2 million units. Honda predicts that sales in North America, the biggest market in the world, should increase 3,7 per cent to 1,4 million units.

"Over the next three years, we will introduce two new light trucks to strengthen our operations in North America," Honda Motor president and chief executive officer Takeo Fukui said.

Honda began producing cars in the US in 1982 and has become the first Japanese car maker to produce 10 million units there.

In China, where Honda runs 11 joint ventures and subsidiaries, Fukui said the company would establish a wholly owned subsidiary in Beijing to develop Honda's overall business strategy there.

"By creating a new company, we will respond quickly to the Chinese market as its growth is unprecedented in auto history," Fukui said, estimating the rapidly expanding Chinese auto market would see sales of seven million units in 2010, up from the current two million.

Capitalized at R204 million, Honda Motor (China) Investment will serve as a holding company in China and is expected to start operations in February.

Fukui said the Japanese market was "extremely severe," with the company's domestic sales this year expected to drop 18 per cent from 2002 to 740 000 units.

Original article from Car