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CR-V sales to improve Honda’s fortunes

Improved supply, particularly of in-demand hybrid CR-V, to drive-up Honda Australia’s sales average

18 Oct 2023

HONDA Australia has launched its sixth generation CR-V into the local market this week, the new arrival set to bolster the brand’s overall performance, increasing annual sales forecasts by an impressive 5000 units.


The mid-sized SUV competitor to the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 is priced from $44,500 plus on-road costs and is available in both petrol and petrol/electric hybrid form.


Two- and all-wheel drive variants are available, as is the choice of five- and seven-seat alternatives, the line-up offering what Honda Australia says is an impressive level of choice for buyers, and one it can now back with steady supply.


“We have had some fantastic volume already for CR-V,” said Honda Australia managing director Carolyn McMahon.


“Our pre-launch event saw 500 buyers put down a deposit without even seeing the car, and it was interesting to see that it was not only CR-V loyalists taking an interest, but also new customers who came across (to the brand) primarily because of the hybrid offering.


“We delivered just over 370 units in September, and that was all our available stock. But this month and next month (November) we will see a lot more stock arrive, and those volumes will keep increasing over the next six months.”


Ms McMahon said supply of the Thai-built model was “steadying” following recent production delays centered around microprocessor and related components, and that the demand for the popular mid-sized SUV is bolstering forecasts for the brand overall.


Under its newly formed agency sales model, Honda Australia had expected to sell around 20,000 units annually across its portfolio, a number now likely to nudge 25,000 units, backed largely by the uptake of hybrid-powered models.


“We have been working hard with the factory ... the ships are rolling in and lots of stock is expected to arrive in November, December and January,” she explained.


“We have always said we are aiming to do about 20,000 units (annually) under the new agency model, but with the interest we are experiencing – and the stock we have coming – that number is more towards the 25,000 (unit) level.


“We have been able to pull forward stock to fulfil backorders … and there are very limited wait times moving forward.”


Wait times for Civic e:HEV (hybrid) and Type-R are currently the worst for Honda Australia with prospective customers currently looking at May 2024 arrival.


CR-V and other SUV lines are facing shorter waits, with three months the average time for hybrid-powered models, and many petrol variants already in stock.


Ms McMahon said that in the early phase of the model’s launch, buyers are showing a preference for high-grade petrol and hybridised CR-Vs with “a lot of customer interest in the electrification space”.


She said that although the e:HEV (hybrid) option is currently only available in high-grade RS form, the likelihood of extending the option of a petrol-electric driveline to other grades is one that is currently under consideration, such is the level of customer interest.


“There is a lot of interest in what Honda is doing in this space … and moving forward you will see further hybrid choices for our customers. We were aiming for a 25 per cent mix of our fleet to be hybrid by 2025, and we are already surpassing that number,” she said.


“We think there is opportunity for more … and not just with the current line-up. I think in the future you will see more hybrid choices across the board. We have hybrid in each of the products, except (Civic) Type R, and at the moment we have hybrid particularly available in our top grades.


“But now, it’s about how to we expand that (hybrid) choice across the model line-up. Hybrid demand is getting stronger and stronger, so, gradually – where we can – we will introduce more choices.


“We are in discussion with the factory as to what the next opportunity might look like, and while I can’t give exact timing, it is certainly within our plan to offer more choice on everything in the range.”

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