News Releases 2003

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April 23, 2003

Sales of Locally Produced Honda Fit to begin in Brazil

  (For your information - This press release was distributed at 11:00am local time in Brazil on April 22nd: 11:00pm Japan time, April 22nd )

Brazil, April 22, 2003 — Honda Automoveis do Brasil LTDA., the automobile production and sales operation of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., in Brazil, today announced the production and sale of the Fit in Brazil. The Fit is the second Honda model to be manufactured and sold locally following production of the Civic, which started in 1997. Local distribution of the Fit starts on April 22nd, with a first year sales target of 25,000 units. 

After being chosen as the Japan Car of the Year in 2001, the Fit claimed the title of Best Selling Car in 2002, its first full year of sales in the Japanese market. The Fit has become widely popular overseas as well and is now sold in 60 countries around the world. After Japan, Brazil is the second production location for the Fit. Currently, the local parts procurement ratio in Brazil for the Fit exceeds 70%. The new project in Brazil represents a U.S. $150 million investment including expansion of the production capacity from 30,000 to 50,000 units. The number of production staff has also been increased by 25% to approximately 1,000. Future plans call for exports to Argentine, Bolivia, Chili, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and other South American countries. 

Honda’s newly developed Global Small Platform is the key to the Fit’s appeal. This platform allows for a center tank layout where the fuel tank is placed forward toward the center of the vehicle and a short front nose design and compact front and rear suspension provide extra cabin space along with an exceptionally low floor and a wide variety of seating arrangements. In addition to world-leading safety and environment-friendliness, the Fit exceeds customer expectations in performance, fuel efficiency, driving pleasure, and style. 

Due to economic and political uncertainty, the Brazilian market has contracted from a peak of 1.57 million units in 1997 to 1.23 million last year. Despite this slowdown, however, opportunities for growth in the small car segment have led Honda to introduce the Fit as part of its plan to rapidly increase sales in the Brazilian market.

Outline of the Fit

Engine: 80-horsepower 1.4-liter i-DSI
Transmission: CVT / 5-speed manual
LX: Air conditioner, driver-side airbag, audio, alarm, power windows, power door locks, power door mirrors.
LXL: Same as LX plus aluminum alloy wheels, passenger-side airbag, ABS (Antilock Brake System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution)
Price: (1R$ = approx. ¥40)
LX(MT) R$33,960
LX(CVT) R$37,500
LXL(MT) R$36,600
LXL(CVT) R$39,980

Outline of Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda.

Established : May, 1996
Capital Investment : Approx. R$803 million
Capitalization : Honda South America Ltda. 100%
Location : Sumare, Sao Paolo
Representative : Representative : Tetsuo Iwamura, President (as of April 1, 2003)
Number of Employees : Approx. 1,000
Start of Production : August, 1997 (Civic 4Dr)
Products : Civic 4Dr, Fit
Production Capacity 50,000 units/year (as of April, 2003)