Five years ago at about this time, Honda was celebrating its 11th straight year of record sales in this country and confident that “we have some great new products coming in the new year that will keep our momentum going." Needless to say, things didn’t quite work out as Honda expected. By the end of 2008, the global economy was in free fall, with Honda sales dropping from 1.5 to 1.4 million units and the company’s glide path plotting a further four-year course of sinking sales.
Fast forward to this morning, though, and Honda, backed by a 24 percent jump in sales on the year, has just passed the 1.4-million unit mark again—but going in the other direction. The final tally: A 2012 total of 1,422,785 sales that included a new annual benchmark for the Honda CR-V, as well as the best December on record for the Honda Civic. (Uncoincidentally, December also saw the debut of the thoroughly—if hastily—refreshed 2013 Honda Civic).
"Honda began the year intent on recovery," said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of Sales. "We ended 2012 with multiple product awards, a host of sales records, Honda's second best December ever, and tremendous momentum as we head into 2013."
Also notable: Honda led all of the traditional “big six” automakers—including the Chrysler Group, GM, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota—in December sales growth, with the next nearest competitor, Chrysler, advancing by just 10.4 percent.