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Honda has a lock on MSX trademark in Australia

Sporting family: Honda’s new-generation NSX might be just the first “SX” sports model in Honda’s line-up, with speculation that a smaller coupe is under development and perhaps will be called MSX.

MSX trademark registration prompts name speculation for Honda’s ‘baby NSX’

27 Jan 2016

HONDA has the bases covered for the MSX nameplate in Australia should the badge be applied to the rumoured baby NSX sports coupe as speculated in recent European press reports.

While Honda reportedly has just applied for the MSX trademark for motor vehicles in Europe, the Japanese company already has a hold on the name in Australia for both motorcycles and motor vehicles.

According to IP Australia, Honda Motor Company applied for MSX registration in Australia in August 2012, and it came into effect in March 2013 for “motorcycles, vehicles, apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water and parts and fittings for the above-mentioned goods”.

At the time, the registration might have been prompted by Honda’s motorcycle division, which has a motorcycle called MSX125 – commonly known as a monkey bike – sold in some markets around the world. In the United States, it is the Honda Grom.

The bike never made it to Australia, except as a grey import, but the trademark registration stands until 2022.

In Europe, Honda apparently also registered the MSX name for motorcycles in 2012, but only now has added motor vehicle trademark cover, prompting the speculation that Honda head office wants the name for a four-wheel application.

Rumours of a downsized NSX have swirled since last year when a report by Britain’s AutoExpress suggested that Honda was close to giving the green light a spiritual successor to the Honda S2000 from 2018.

While the S2000 was a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible, the new car is tipped to be a mid-engined hybrid coupe to sit in the Honda range between the new NSX supercar and tiny Japanese S660 sports coupe, perhaps as an Alfa Romeo 4C or Porsche Cayman competitor.

More fuel was thrown on the speculation fire recently when a Dutch newspaper published alleged United States patent drawings of a Honda sports coupe looking somewhat like the NSX, but with a different nose and tail.

And other reports have suggested the new Honda coupe will employ the same new-generation 1.5-litre turbo engine as the Civic, along with two electric motors.

In the latest 10th generation Civic that is due to touch down in Australia in sedan form from mid-2016, the 1.5-litre engine develops 150kW and 260Nm.

As we have seen with NSX, the addition of electric motors could raise the performance to wicked status.

The British-made Civic Type R hatch – yet to be confirmed for Australia – will get a 2.0-litre turbo engine producing 230kW and 400Nm, but so far there are no reports of the coupe getting that.

The new-generation NSX is scheduled to arrive in Australia in late 2016, although vagaries of supply from the American plant might mean it could slip out to the first half of 2017.

In the US, NSX pricing starts at $156,000 ($A222,021) and tops out at $205,000 ($A291,758), but as always, Australian prices will be much higher, perhaps more in line with its perceived competitors, the Audi R8 Plus ($407,810 plus on-road costs) and Ferrari California T ($409,888).

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