Last Friday, as most people focused on Chrysler going bankrupt, making its first appearance in bankruptcy court and the mounting questions about whether its future was bright or bleak, Honda moved a little higher. It was typical Honda done with little fanfare. The "Steady-Eddie" of the car business moved past Chrysler to become number 4 in U.S. auto sales this year.
With industry sales in the tank it might be easy to dismiss Honda picking up market share. Sure, with its sales being down 31%, the big claim here is that Honda sales have fallen by smaller percentage than its competitors (Chrysler down 46 %, GM down 45%, Ford down 40%, and Toyota down 38%). That is true. Still, it doesn't give the company credit for having a balanced line-up that is working right now.
That line-up now includes the new Insight hybrid. It's a gas-electric car that many believe will give the Priusa run for its money as top hybrid. I think the Insight will do well, though I do not believe that it will surpass the Prius since Toyota's hybrid is the standard in the industry and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.
Critics will point out that Honda had to goose incentives in recent months to move the metal. They fail to point out that other auto makers have done the same thing. That's the market right now. Take away incentives and sales would plunge.
With 11% share, Honda is still a long ways from threatening Ford and becoming #3 in the U.S. It won't happen anytime soon. Especially now that Ford is back on track. That's fine, the steady eddie's of the auto business will just keep on doing their thing.
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