The dealer sales programme launched at the end of 2005 with 20 dealers and has exceeded the firm’s expectations.
“We were aiming for 50 dealers by now, but the success of the programme means we have 90,” said national dealer corporate manager Ashley Wheeler.
He put the progress down to a focus on small to medium-sized fleets, an area Honda felt was being neglected by some other major manufacturers.
Local dealer sales have risen from 2,042 in 2005 to 7,250 so far this year and now makes up 33% of Honda’s fleet sales. A survey of fleets by Sewells Information and Research ranked the company’s programme as number one.
The investment programme will focus on three key areas.
The first will be a fleet charter launched next year, which aims to ensure customer care standards. Business development is also regarded as crucial, and Honda hopes to book 22,000 appointments with fleets during 2008.
Fleet specific business resources will also be focused on, with finances made available to develop fleet teams.
Elsewhere, the Civic Hybrid has been a big success over the past year. Sales have shot up by 439% compared to the same time last year, taking the car to third in its market behind the Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX400h.
Honda’s manager – corporate operations, Harvey Hughes, thinks the rise in popularity will continue when the new EX version of the Civic Hybrid comes out.
It includes leather upholstery and sat nav as standard and undercuts the equivalent Prius by £2,000.