What will Honda do next? September’s sales surge is good news, but will the new CR-V, ZR-V and Civic hybrids help stabilize the ship? – Automotive News

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Honda’s much-publicized shift to an agency sales model in mid-2021 was always going to be a bumpy one, and company management expected a sharp drop in sales as a result.

That drop in sales has happened, and Honda now sits well outside the top 10 list it held for decades. In the year-to-date sales tally, Honda ranks 18th, behind Suzuki, LDV and Tesla, and only just ahead of premium brand Audi.

So far this year, Honda has sold 11,067 vehicles in Australia. However, last month its tally of 1,258 was a 35.9% increase from its September 2021 tally. That’s good news for Honda, even if it was off a low base.

Under the agency model, Honda Australia, not its dealerships, owns all vehicle stock, allowing the company to roll out national drive-through pricing. This also led to a consolidation of its dealer network.

Ahead of the transition, Honda Australia chief Stephen Collins – who has just announced his resignation – confirmed that the new business model was designed to support annual sales of 20,000 units, with fluctuations expected back and forth. of that figure, depending on supply and other markets. The factors.

With just three months to go, Honda won’t hit that watermark this year, but with a new product on the horizon, it just might in the years to come.

The next-generation HR-V SUV is finally starting to pull, with a 64.3% increase month-over-month, although year-to-date sales of 3,815 still put it far off the pace of top-selling rivals like the Mazda CX-30 (11,978) or Subaru XV (6,640).

It will never regain the sales glory of the more affordable model it replaced, especially since it’s only offered in two grades – the Vi X petrol from $36,700 drive-away and the $47,000 hybrid-powered e:HEV L.

The next-generation CR-V could arrive before the end of 2023.

The CR-V family SUV is seeing strong sales in its twilight years, shipping 781 units last month, up 93.3 percent. That was enough to outplay old foes like the Nissan X-Trail (496) and Subaru Forester (687).

Year to date it’s not doing too badly at all, with 6,138 registrations (+20.0%) keeping it ahead of the booming GWM Haval H6 (5,328) and the seriously limited supply of Volkswagen Tiguan ( 1823), and within spitting distance of the X-Trail (6236).

As the North American version of the next-generation CR-V has just started production, a Honda Australia spokesperson has informed Cars Guide that the local timeline for production of the right-hand-drive sixth-generation CR-V is yet to be confirmed.

While some reports suggest it will arrive before the end of 2023, it could well go beyond that.

Sales of the new HR-V increased. Sales of the new HR-V increased.

With Honda’s strategy of a higher entry price but more equipment under the new agency model, it’s unclear how many grades of the new CR-V will be offered and at what price it will start.

If, as expected, it’s a more expensive affair than the current model, sales could plummet. However, the CR-V has long been a favorite among Australians and it could be improved upon when it launches.

Until then, the Honda Australia spokesman said there was still plenty of stock of the current CR-V.

“Honda currently has a reasonably good stock level of most CR-V grades, depending on the specific vehicle color selected, condition and delivery location, and requested delivery time (the immediate delivery is not required for all customers).”

The Civic Type R will inject excitement into the Honda lineup. The Civic Type R will inject excitement into the Honda lineup.

The Civic is well down from last September’s transport, with just 70 (-67.0%) finding a home last month. Given that the only Civic variant is priced at $47,200 drive-away, that’s not terribly surprising.

Honda is set to get a boost from two more Civic variants in the form of the hybrid which is still confirmed to arrive before the end of 2022, and the fire-breathing Civic Type R hot hatch which is set to arrive in the Honda showrooms in early 2023.

With the hybrid expected to be more expensive than the current gas-powered VTi-LX, and the Type R almost certainly up from the previous model’s $54,990 price tag (before on-road costs), Civic sales are only expected to not go through the roof when these models land.

With the discontinuation of the Jazz and City light cars and the Odyssey people carrier, the only other model in Honda’s Australian lineup is the Accord midsize sedan.

The Accord remains a slow seller for Honda. The Accord remains a slow seller for Honda.

Although only 10 Accords (-9.1%) found a home last month, overall year-to-date sales rose 44.1% to 85 registrations. Again, not a massive result, but positive news is positive news. It’s still the slowest selling model in the sub-$60,000 mid-car segment, with models like the Peugeot 508 (106 units, +19.1%) selling better.

With models like the next-generation Jazz and the all-electric Honda e excluded for Australia, and a number of US-market offerings like the Passport, Pilot and Ridgeline built only for North America, Honda Australia doesn’t have much to choose from. of its global catalog, apart from the ZR-V.

An SUV that will slot into the lineup between the smaller HR-V and the growing CR-V for the next generation, the ZR-V could be Honda’s best hope for big enough sales volume to bring the brand to that magical annual sales figure of 20,000 units.

Again, the timing is unclear, but previous comments from Honda indicate it should be in showrooms before the end of 2023.

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