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Jazz-based SUV a ‘priority’, says Honda

Small packages: Honda is keen to slot a Jazz-based soft-roader in under its CR-V mid-sizer.

Jacked-up city car crossover high on Honda’s wishlist

Honda logo17 Apr 2013

By BARRY PARK

HONDA Australia says a city-friendly soft-roader based on the Jazz small car will be a welcome addition to its model portfolio.

The car-maker teased a futuristic concept car at this year’s Detroit motor show featuring what it said was a glimpse of a next-generation platform that will include spin-offs such as the Jazz city runabout.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told GoAuto that a small soft-roader had strong appeal for the brand.

“It’s probably the top of our list at the moment,” he said. “That segment is growing very, very fast so we see lots of opportunity for it.

“It’s probably too early to say anything definitive yet, but it is definitely up near the top of our list of things to do.”

The small soft-roader segment, which includes the likes of Subaru’s XV, the Hyundai ix35, and the Nissan Dualis, is one of the fastest-growing parts of the Australian new-car market.

Sales in the segment grew by 55 per cent overall last year, and are already up by 24 per cent so far this year.

The spread of vehicles available in the class range from the $17,990 front-drive Chinese-built Chery J2 up to the $58,200 luxury all-paw BMW X1.

“That segment is going to grow particularly over the next months and years, and a small SUV in that area is something we are working very hard on,” Mr Collins said.

“The CR-V (mid-size soft-roader) is going to do very well for us, but I think this (Jazz-based soft-roader) is going to fit in underneath that nicely. It’s right up there for us.”

Honda says the production version of the Jazz-based soft-roader is likely to be on sale in Japan later this year before expanding to other markets in 2014.

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