Corporate / Executive Remarks
2006 New York International Auto Show Remarks by Dick Colliver
Good morning, and thank you for joining us for the Honda press event. As you saw in our playful opening, Honda is a company that now has a full lineup of world-class, award-winning vehicles. A lineup that is continuing to get stronger every day.
The new Civic came out of the gate a winner on every level and Civic sales are up 32 percent over last year. And the all-new Fit launches next week. A Honda in the full sense of the word, it's a vehicle which is unique in it segment with great interior flexibility and high levels of standard feature content, safety and refinement. And later this year, we'll be launching an all-new CR-V, and a very hot new Civic Si sedan- all of that in addition to the new vehicle I'm going to show you in a few moments.
With the addition of the Ridgeline pickup at one end, and the subcompact Fit at the other, Honda now has the most comprehensive lineup in its history, with product offerings in nearly all segments. Add it all up, and it's clear that Honda is on the move, and we are projecting record sales for the eleventh consecutive year with total sales of 1.3 million vehicles. As we expand our product line and work to build sales, we're also continuing to remain focused on protecting the environment. Honda's commitment to the environment runs deep and is expressed in everything we do, including our alternative fuel vehicles. The Honda FCX, for example, is the most advanced hydrogen-powered vehicle on earth. And while we create the technologies on tomorrow, we're also making the most of the fuels available today- fuels like natural gas. Available in millions of homes across America, natural gas is a clean, eco-friendly alternative fuel. Until now, the only ones able to use it for vehicles were large companies with their own fleet of refueling stations. Honda is changing that. Next month, we're launching the next generation of the natural gas powered Civic GX is California. Using the Phill refueling appliance, customers can now conveniently refuel at home. With an overnight refuel, the Civic GX has arrange of approximately 250 miles- more than enough to cover most daily driving. The Phill home refueling appliance removes in the infrastructure barrier to consumer use of natural gas vehicles, and it is a breakthrough technology. As for the Civic GX, it's the cleanest running vehicle sold anywhere on earth and it's an expression of Honda's corporate commitment to creating "blue skies" for our children. Honda is the only company to offer this technology, and I am pleased to announced today that Civic GX and the home refueling appliance will be available throughout New York state starting this fall.
And while we work to protect the environment, we're also doing everything we can to ensure that Honda vehicles are as safe as possible. In 2003, we publicly launched our "Safety For Everyone" initiative. This initiative was designed to bring a core suite of standard safety features that go beyond current regulations, to every Honda model regardless of size or price. Those features include side curtain airbags, front-side airbags, anti-lock brakes and pedestrian safety design. It's a comprehensive package, and by the end of this calendar year every Honda- except for our small volume specialty models- will have these safety technologies. In addition, we have also applied the ACE body structure to nearly half of our models, and have added a series of other safety features above and beyond our original commitment.
The next great Hondas to include all of the "Safety For Everyone" features will be the 2007 Element lineup, including a new urban-oriented version of this popular SUV. One of the hallmarks of Element is its versatility, and the new Element SC Prototype is designed to expand that versatility by appealing to a whole new group of young buyers. This is the Element SC Prototype, and it has been designed to be the hip, style-conscious, performance-oriented brother of the original Element- which makes New York City the perfect place to introduce it. Complementing the outdoor lifestyle features the Element is known for, the Element SC injects a new dimension of sophistication into the lineup that can best be summarized as "city performer". With fully painted panels and trim pieces, the exterior is designed to convey a more sophisticated attitude.
Exclusive Prototype features include: custom front bumper, a custom grill, projector beam headlights, front to rear aero body kit, a lowered roof line, a new suspension riding 3" lower than the stock edition and custom 21" cast aluminum alloy wheels with high performance tires. Inside, there are a variety of exclusive features which work together to create an upscale, urban feel. These include glossy black trim pieces, a carpeted floor, copper-hue instrument panel lighting with corresponding trim accents and a new integrated seatbelt system. There's also a center console that has enclosed storage areas ideal for cell phones and MP3 players, and which creates a more cockpit-like environment.
Element SC is powered by a 2.4-liter, dual overhead cam, i-VTEC engine that produces 166 horsepower- 10 more than the '06 Element. It comes standard with a five-speed manual, and the available automatic has five forward gears instead of four. As for handling, it has been vastly improved thanks to a dynamic combination of track-worthy steering and suspension. And as I said a moment ago, it also comes standard with a full array of highly advanced, world-class safety features.
As for our buyers, we expect Element SC to appeal to young males seeking an expression of their personal style. This Element will provide that along with cargo versatility, plus a great driving experience. And we will announce technical details, pricing and sales plans closer to its debut this fall. With everything it has going for it, Element SC is going to be a hot new addition to the Honda lineup...a lineup that continues to grow stronger and better everyday as we set our sights on another year of record sales.
Thanks you all for coming this morning. I hope you enjoy the rest of the day.