The Honda Motor Company has long been so focused on winning the hearts and minds of the American consumers (and dealers) that the company sometimes deprioritized international markets. But that’s no longer the case.
In the past, Honda has focused on responding to large shifts in the US market. Case in point was when the company rushed to update the Honda Civic because of the backlash it got from American buyers, but not European or Japanese customers. Examples like this might soon be a distant memory as the manufacturer looks to a different market for future growth: China.
The Chinese auto market has been on fire and is now the largest market in the world; Honda expects that it will be their global sales leader in the future, overtaking the US market as the company’s most profitable market. Honda plans to increase its dealership network in China alongside other interested automakers from Germany, Japan, Korea, and the United States that are pushing jockeying for the best market position.
While it’s too soon to say for certain what, exactly, this will look like, it’s clear more and more manufacturers will appease the Chinese buyer first and foremost. Given that most automakers want to save costs by manufacturing global vehicles, this will impact features and functions that appear on cars around the world. Interestingly, while many observers believe that Chinese consumers still don’t demand quality, Honda disagrees. The automaker claims that they spend more to manufacture a vehicle for China than they do on those produced for the American market. Chinese buyers want better soundproofing and Internet connectivity in particular. (If we get less noise and better WiFi, we’ll count that as a silver lining.)
Honda also notes that the Chinese market is far more advanced and accommodating to electric vehicles. Honda wants to release a lineup of EVs early next year. It looks like the winds of change are coming, and they’re blowing from the east.