Honda pinning hopes on 2015 HR-V
Winding up sales of all but one hybrid model, Honda is pinning its hopes of lifting sales to 40,000 in 2015 on its soon-to-launch HR-V.
HONDA HAS HIGH hopes for both the 2015 HR-V SUV which launches early next month and its facelifted CR-V which arrives towards the end of the year. Indeed, Honda is hoping to sell 40,000 cars this year, which is an almost 20% increase on its 2014 sales (33,000).
While most automakers are predicting 2015 to be flat, Honda is bullish about its prospects in 2015. Speaking with Practical Motoring, Honda Australia director, Stephen Collins said no other car in Honda’s history had sparked so much customer interest.
“For us [Honda] HR-V is really what this year is all about; it’s our number one priority and we believe it will be a major player in that small SUV space. That said, we see no reason why Jazz won’t continue to be strong in the light car segment, and our third core model for 2015 will be the facelifted CR-V. Those three cars will be the foundation of our volume.
But it’s the HR-V that Collins believes will be the main sales driver.
“We’ve had thousands of people go to our website and register their interest in the new HR-V, and that’s very exciting for a vehicle launching into one of the most competitive segments in the new car market. But that small SUV market is very strong, it’s one of the only segments growing.
But there have been complaints the HR-V won’t be offered with all-wheel drive, however, Collins believes the small SUV market is dominated by two-wheel drives and so the HR-V won’t be seen as lacking.
“We [Honda] think the small SUV market is dominated by two-wheel drive SUVs and CR-V covers off those who want a four-wheel drive,” Collins said.
“As a brand, we think we’ve got practicality really well covered with Jazz and CR-V and now HR-V but, in addition to that over the next couple of years we’ll also be focussing on sportiness, particularly with NSX which will be here next year, and we haven’t yet formally announced Civic Type-R [it will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March] but that car is part of our DNA and part of our history, it’s also a big part of our future.
“So, I think having those cars that offer core car buyer values of practicality, but also having sporty cars gives us a very good armoury,” Collins told Practical Motoring.
But what about news this week that Honda would wave goodbye to the CR-Z because of poor sales. Collins said that wasn’t quite the full story, saying the CR-Z was in run-out and that replacement hybrid models were on the way Down Under.
“The CR-Z was a great car and the decision to run it out wasn’t due to poor sales. It wasn’t a core car for Honda, but I think it helped raise awareness for us and now it’s time to move on.
“The hybrid technology was old-generation technology and we’ve got new hybrid technology on the way and so the time is right for our current crop of hybrid models to make way for new hybrid cars.
“Most mum and dad buyers want the full package; they want good value for money, cars that are fun to drive and they want cars that are practical. I think that if you don’t have all three of those elements and you only have one or two I think you’ll struggle.
“With our hybrids coming this year we’ll be endeavouring to tick those boxes.”