Honda to launch new subcompact in Europe next spring

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TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. will market a new subcompact model car in Europe in the spring of 1999 as part of its efforts to boost market share in the region, a Japanese financial daily reports.

In one attempt to increase its market share in the European passenger car market by 2%, Honda will start sales of its new subcompact, tentatively called J-BX, next spring.

Honda is aiming to sell 300,000 vehicles overall in Europe by 2000, up from its current 230,000, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports, citing company sources. A Honda spokesman says the company has made no announcements about its plan to increase its share in Europe.

The spokesman says the J-BX was unveiled earlier this year in Geneva.

The newspaper says the new subcompact will be made in Japan at first and will be based on Honda's existing 1300cc Logo model. Production will shift to a plant in the U.K. in 2000 or later.

According to the report, the new subcompact release is to combat a move by rival Toyota Motor Corp., which also plans to introduce a subcompact in Europe next spring.

Honda also plans to increase its dealerships in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, and double its outlets in Spain to 120, as part of its increased push into Europe, the paper reports.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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