Bahrain market key for Honda GCC operations
Manama, December 29, 2011
Bahrain is a very important component of Honda’s GCC and Middle East operations and vehicle sales have not been affected due to the recent crisis, said a senior official of the Japanese automobile company.
Bahrain has proved to be a very aggressive and resilient market and is one of the best-developed markets, added Honda Motor Company senior general manager (service) Hisashi Kusumi.
However, there had been a global slump in sales in the past two years, but business had been picking up since then, he noted.
He was speaking after a tour of a new workshop at Honda dealers National Motor Company (NMC) facilities in Sehla.
'We have seen Bahrain has top-class infrastructure and this is one of the best workshops in the region, with latest knowhow and expertise,' he said. 'This is also testimony to the importance we give to after sales service and help customers look after their vehicles.”
Kusumi said Bahrain had always been a good market for Japanese cars and young people were attracted to Japanese brands the most.
'Over the years, Honda has capitalised on this and brought out newer models,' he added. He, however, said the global economic downturn had resulted in problems for the industry. While before the downturn, we sold 60,000 vehicles in 11 Middle East countries annually, the figure had gone down to 30,000.'
'The good news is that sales are on an upswing once again and we hope to have higher figures ahead.'
Kusumi said Honda suffered in 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand.
'While the Japanese operations are back to normal, we are still waiting for operations to resume in our Thailand facilities.'
He said the disruptions had not resulted in customers anywhere in the world suffering due to lack of spare parts.
Kusumi also held talks with senior NMC officials at their Sitra offices and discussed their future expansion plans.
'We will aggressively help them plan and set up operations as they embark on those plans,' he added. – TradeArabia News Service