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Thai-built Hondas return to Oz

Welcome back: Honda Australia director and general manager of sales and marketing Stephen Collins (left) with Honda Australia managing director and CEO Satoshi Matsuzawa as a Thai-built Jazz hatchback is unloaded.

First shipment of Hondas from Thailand arrive in Australia since devastating floods

30 May 2012

HONDA Australia has received its first shipment of cars from the Ayutthaya factory in Thailand since it re-opened at the end of March following fast-tracked works to get production back up and running after October’s devastating floods.

The shipment of Jazz, Civic, CR-V and facelifted City models puts the Japanese brand on the road to recovery from the floods that left it without the factory that usually supplies 80 per cent of its Australian stock.

Honda Australia director and general manager of sales and marketing Stephen Collins said the shipment from Thailand strengthens the company’s aim of achieving 40,000 sales this year.

“To date, Honda has been tracking on target, with 2,485 units sold in April and excellent sales of the all-new Civic sedan, Jazz Vibe and Accord Euro.

“Product from (Ayutthaya) benefits our customers in two ways. They receive high-quality products built to Honda’s stringent global standards as well as competitive pricing as a result of the Australia-Thai Free Trade Agreement.”

Honda is also expected to receive a late sales boost with the launch of its all-new CR-V compact SUV in the fourth quarter, replacing the popular current-generation model for which it has had no alternative supply since the floods hit.

The company says supplies of all models will return to normal from July following the launch of the British-built Civic hatch.

Honda’s Ayutthaya factory, located about 80 kilometres north of Bangkok, was swamped by up to 2.5 metres of water for 45 days after the Chao Phraya river burst its banks.

80 per cent of the equipment, including all robots and electrical wiring, was ruined and upon first inspection in late November, Honda engineers estimated the plant would be out of action for up to 12 months.

Honda Australia moved quickly to re-source some of its Jazz light car and ninth-generation Civic hatch from Japan following the floods, and offered special deals on the Japanese-sourced Accord Euro sedan and Odyssey people mover to help keep dealers in business.

This stop-gap measure proved to be more temporary than originally thought thanks to the efforts of Japanese engineers, production equipment suppliers and Thai factory workers – the majority of whom had their homes affected in the floods – which resulted in Ayutthaya returning to operation in just three months.

Honda Australia is now looking to sourcing vehicles from factories in Indonesia and Malaysia to broaden its range and hedge against further natural disasters.

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