Honda will close its dealerships and other stores to all customers beginning next week, a major move that will likely lead to smaller cars and other vehicles hitting the market.
The automaker said Thursday it will close all stores nationwide in the first quarter of 2018 and that all customers will be required to purchase a vehicle at the end of the quarter.
The stores will remain open, but customers will have to go to a dealer to buy a vehicle.
The automaker says the stores will be closed to dealers for up to 24 hours per day and a limited number of customers can pick up their vehicle from a dealer.
“We’re doing it for customers who have been waiting for Honda to change its policy and for dealers to have a better understanding of what customers want and need in the marketplace,” Honda spokeswoman Karen Hagerty said in a statement.
“It’s clear that we need to change this policy, and we have been working with dealers to do that.”
Honda has been on a hiring spree, and its sales and marketing director told Reuters that it will continue to grow in the next year.
The company said it expects to hire more than 5,000 people to help it continue to sell cars and small SUVs and sell more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to work on new technologies.