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Honda picks up seven NSX orders

Hello halo: The first examples of the Australian-spec NSX will roll into owner’s driveways early next year.

Books officially open for Honda NSX orders but $420k pricing took some by surprise

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Honda logo23 Aug 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

HONDA Australia says it has received a “mixed” response from consumers since announcing a $420,000 (plus on-road costs) pricetag for its forthcoming NSX hybrid supercar, but it has already taken deposits for up to seven examples from cashed-up buyers.

As previously reported, the reborn NSX is within a few thousand dollars of a Lamborghini Huracan and is pricier than a Ferrari California T, but the number of Australians keen to get behind the wheel is expected to grow with the official order program kicking off this week.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told reporters in Sydney this week that while some people had more conservative expectations of NSX pricing, buyers in the segment were generally after exclusivity.

“I think it (the response) has probably been mixed,” he said. “Some people expected it to be $250,000 or $200,000 or thereabouts. What I do know is the customers who have put in pre, pre-orders if you like, what they are after is exclusivity.

“These customers are very astute. They can buy Ferraris, they can buy Lamborghinis, Porsches. What they really want is something no one else has got. I think that it has been mixed depending on what the expectation was.” Beyond the recent media attention and pre-launch buzz of the 427kW/646Nm NSX, Mr Collins said it was the fans that would help maintain interest in the car.

“Although we might not be blasting TV commercials, I think word of mouth is very important. You are not going to see hundreds of them on the road either. What we want is people to come in (to a dealership) who are looking at a Jazz, and think ‘wow look at that thing over there’.

“They will probably never be able to buy one, but I think … it is very important to our brand to have that.” Honda Australia general manager of customer and communications Scott McGregor reiterated Mr Collins’ comments, adding that the opportunity with NSX was not to increase sales but for it to act as a halo model.

“When you were a kid you had a picture of whatever it was on the wall. That is what it is for us. When you walk into a dealership and mum and dad are looking at a CR-V but you can see this NSX over in the corner,” he said.

“It is not something a mainstream brand would typically do. The fact we do do that and that we commit to introducing that sort of product into Australia just demonstrates our commitment to push the edges. It’s something we didn’t have to do but we did it anyway.” The first Australian examples of the NSX will be delivered early next year, but Mr Collins could not confirm how long the wait list would be for buyers who order one now.

“This is uncharted water for us. In Europe it is up to a two-year waiting list and the US it is a year. We are still working with America on how many slots of production we could possibly get. We are really not sure.” The NSX will be offered with three years free servicing – mirroring the servicing plans of some of the car’s European rivals – and Honda will appoint a ‘master technician’ whose job it will be to look after the more complex cars.

“That person will know the car inside and out. That person will fly to wherever the car is and be the expert. These types of customers, they want to talk to the technician. They want to stand there while the service is being done, to understand what is going on,” Mr Collins said.

The NSX is offered in the United States in GT3 racing spec, minus the hybrid drivetrain, but Mr Collins said there were no plans for Honda to go racing in Australia, in addition to its Formula One commitments.

“I have had a lot of people approach us. At this stage we have no plans for local racing.

“We wouldn’t discourage them but we wouldn’t be a part of it.

“It is not the core of our business. The racing direction is set ultimately at Honda Motor with their racing division and for us we still think the Formula One program is very good for us.” Mr Collins confirmed that Honda Motor Company Japan planned to continue the NSX beyond the current generation, following the original model that lasted just one generation from 1991 to 2005.

“I think there’s definitely a long-term commitment to the car. Without question, I don’t think the company would invest in the development and also the factory – they are basically hand-made in a factory – just for one shot.

“What happens, what the life cycle is, that will play out in time, but I think there is definitely a commitment for the long term for it.”

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