Honda gets 20,000 Fit orders in Japan in 2 weeks

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TOKYO, Nov 9 (Reuters) Honda Motor Co said on Friday it had received about 20,000 orders for its remodelled Fit subcompact in the two weeks since its launch in Japan last month, far outpacing a monthly sales target of 12,000 cars.

Honda, Japan's second-biggest automaker, is counting on the second-generation Fit, sold as the Jazz in some markets, to reverse a slide in domestic sales, where popular 660cc minivehicles have eaten into the subcompact segment.

The car, which is roomier and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, is set to overtake Toyota Motor Corp's Corolla sedan as Japan's best-selling car, excluding minicars. It last claimed the No. 1 spot in September 2006.

Hit by a slump in the overall market, Honda last month lowered its domestic retail sales forecast by 4 percent to 660,000 cars for the business year to the end of March 2008. It expects a rebound to around 700,000 cars next year, with help from the Fit and a beefed-up minivehicle line-up.

Honda is due to launch the new Fit/Jazz in North America, Europe, China and other markets over the next year.

REUTERS BJR BD1250

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