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CR-V set for sales comeback

Return of the king: Honda Australia hopes that its fourth generation CR-V can regain sales it has lost to newer competition in recent years.

Honda targets segment leadership again with its latest CR-V compact SUV

Honda logo23 Oct 2012

HONDA Australia is hoping its latest CR-V will quickly restore sales to the class-leading levels enjoyed by the previous model five years ago.

On sale from mid-November, the fourth-generation compact SUV brings with it fresh styling, improved driveability, higher specification and a lower entry price point of $27,490 courtesy of a new-to-Australia front-wheel-drive base model.

Honda Australia general manager sales and marketing Stephen Collins expects this will help lift the CR-V back above 1000 monthly sales – a position it has not enjoyed since the outgoing model helped snare 12,642 customers back in 2007, second only to the Toyota RAV4.

An ageing design, coupled with supply issues from the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as well as the Thai floods in 2011, have seen the current CR-V struggle to average 300 units this year.

To the end of September, just 2668 were sold, compared to 4398 units for the same period last year.

In contrast, the segment-leading Nissan X-Trail – another oldie from 2007 – has achieved 12,183 sales for a 16.7 per cent share, followed by the Mazda CX-5 (11,528 sales), RAV4 (10,815), Subaru Forester (8650) and Mitsubishi Outlander (5313).

The compact/medium SUV segment features more than twice as many contenders as when the current CR-V was released in February 2007, many of them offering cheaper FWD versions that Honda has failed to match until now.

“The CR-V is good news for us,” said Mr Collins.

“We have two-wheel drive for the first time, and expect it to bring new conquest customers for us in a really fast-growing market… while the new 4WD version will appeal to our current owners.

He added that the new lower base price would also help the CR-V snare small-car buyers who might otherwise settle for a Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla or Holden Cruze hatch.

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