Honda Changes Up North American Exec Roles

American Honda Motor Co. said John Mendel will take over as executive vice president of auto sales, replacing Richard Colliver who will become a senior advisor.

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) -- American Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday John Mendel will take over the automaker's top North American executive position, replacing Richard Colliver as executive vice president of auto sales.

Colliver, who joined Honda in 1993 as senior VP of the Honda Automobile division and who has led the Honda and Acura divisions for more than a decade, will become a senior adviser to the company. He will provide strategic counsel and support to American Honda's dealer body and management team.

Mendel joined Honda in 2004 and has been executive vice president of auto operations since 2007. He will be succeeded in that post by Takashi Sekiguchi, who has served as executive vice president of corporate affairs and product planning since 2008.

The news comes as American Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday its January sales fell almost 30 percent, as its top-selling Civic and Accord models posted big year-over-year declines amid a dismal auto sales environment.

Honda's U.S. division said January sales fell 27.9 percent to 71,031 units, compared with 98,511 in January of last year. Sales of the Accord and Civic models fell more than 30 percent during the month, as consumers avoided even the more economical cars in the Japanese automaker's lineup.

The only vehicles in Honda's lineup to post year-over-year sales increases were the Fit subcompact and the Acura TSX sedan. Sales of the small, fuel-efficient Fit rose about 6 percent to 4,745 units. Sales of the TSX rose 16.1 percent to 2,406 units.