Sales of HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD.'s made-in-America natural gas-powered Civic sedans have started, two months after they were put on the U.S. market (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 9). However, the automotive manufacturer expects to sell in Japan just 100 of the 1,000 environmentally friendly vehicles it plans to produce annually at its East Liberty, Ohio plant, in part because it is difficult to find places that sell compressed natural gas. Honda has received orders for 120 of the $14,300-and-up Civic model, almost entirely from gas utilities.
The import arm of FORD MOTOR CO. has added a less powerful, less expensive model to its line of Galaxy minivans, which are built in Portugal by a firm that Ford owns with VOLKSWAGEN AG. The GLX comes standard with a four-cylinder, 2,300- cubic-centimeter engine that produces 145 horsepower. The initial GHIA model has a V6 engine (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 25). Ford has priced the seven-seat Galaxy GLX at $23,500. With the broader line, it expects to sell 1,000 Galaxy vans this year.
An exchange rate of ¥140=$1.00 was used in this report.