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Honda Jazz future hangs in balance in Australia

Soaring prices and falling sales might kill off Honda’s redesigned Jazz locally

24 Oct 2019

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in TOKYO

HONDA Australia may take a pass on the all-new Jazz in light of continuing falling sales and increasing pricing pressure created from unfavourable currency exchange rates.

 

As reported last year by GoAuto, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said that while he would love to be able to offer the fourth-generation supermini, a decision will be reached in the coming weeks over the series’ future in this market.

 

“Many of those challenges we spoke about at that point last year are still in play, and probably tougher,” Mr Collins told GoAuto this week.

 

“There are three factors we are dealing with: the segment in the last four years has declined 40 per cent, it’s a double-digit decline and it’s unfortunately not a short-term phenomenon. It is therefore making life difficult for people in that segment.

 

“Also, the Aussie dollar is still making things very tough. We’re buying out of Thailand, and it’s now buying just under 21 baht, when it was about 30 when we launched, and that’s a massive challenge trying to recoup the cost investment. 

 

“We’re still trying to work through that. We’re under heavy discussions at the moment. The new Jazz is a great car, but we’re dealing with all those issues. I would hope we’ll have all this sorted soon.”

 

If Honda Australia finds that it has no choice but to abandon plans to import the new model, it would make the base-model Civic from $22,390 (before on-road costs) the cheapest new model in its line-up.

 

In the year since Mr Collins first revealed the hurdles Honda Australia is facing with continuing the Jazz in Australia, the light-car segment in which it competes in has contracted at nearly double the rate of the fall of total new-vehicle sales, at 14.2 per cent versus 7.9 per cent to the end of September.

 

Registrations of the existing Jazz have fallen even further, by nearly 20 per cent. That said, it remains a top-five seller, commanding 10 per cent of the segment.

 

The existing Jazz is expected to remain in production in Thailand well into next year, with no plans to discontinue it in Australia before then.


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