Honda Australia says that improved supply and two all-new medium SUVs will help it achieve its 20,000 annual sales target in 2023/24
Following a significant drop in sales since introducing a premium-focused, no-haggle business strategy in mid-2021, Honda Australia says it has finally reached a position where it will have the product and the supply to achieve its proposed 20,000 annual sales target.
After discontinuing the Jazz hatch, City sedan and all entry-level variants of HR-V and Civic, Honda Australia’s sales effectively halved across a two-year period, totalling just 6758 units for the first six months of 2023.
But with the all-new ZR-V medium SUV now on sale, and a new-generation CR-V just moments away, the Japanese brand says its future is looking much brighter.
Honda Australia’s general manager automotive Matthew Evans said the ZR-V will have a “huge impact” on the brand’s local sales volume going forward.
“Demand has been really strong. For a new nameplate, we have been really happy with the purchase rate. I think the ZR-V is definitely going to make up a material part of our sales volume … although it’s going to be hard to knock the CR-V off its mantle, it’s really well-established in Australia,” he said.
As previously covered by Chasing Cars, Evans stated the sixth-generation CR-V will launch in Australia “really soon”, with a similar line-up to the four-variant ZR-V range, topped by a Hybrid flagship but with the unique offering of five- or seven-seat configurations.
Mr Evans said that supply of the Japanese-built, Civic-based ZR-V will be no impediment to its sales success in Australia.
“I’m confident that when we get into next year, in particular, and towards the end of this year, that supply of this car will be strong. We’ll be able to get customers into the cars very quickly, if not immediately.”
After going on sale in Australia in May, delivery for the range-topping ZR-V Hybrid is already out to December, with the turbo-petrol VTi-L and VTi-LX currently around August, and the base VTi-X available pretty much immediately, depending on colour.
As for the rest of the range, Honda Australia director Carolyn McMahon said that demand is “really, really strong at the moment for us. So even though you’re not seeing it in the retail numbers, certainly our order bank is very, very strong.
“Volume and production have been a challenge for us but we will see a significant uplift in our volume later this year. We are locking in some really great support [from Honda’s production facilities in Japan and Thailand] and our Honda centres are getting ready to be able to deliver at that 20,000 mark in Q4 this year and Q1 next year,” she said.
At present, Honda Australia’s wait times generally span three to six months, with the HR-V Vi-X and Hybrid both around five months, the Civic VTi-LX at eight months, the Civic Hybrid at nine months and the Type R currently 10 months.
But Mr Evans said that those wait times are expected to reduce as supply improves through the latter half of 2023.
“By the end of our calendar year, you’ll see that Honda’s [sales] numbers are a lot stronger as we get a lot of boats arriving and we can feel that we can fill that pipeline. Our volume has been supply-constrained in the last 12 months and we haven’t been alone in that respect.
“[But] we’re getting strong delivery throughout the end of this year, which will enable us to get a lot of Honda customers into their cars, which will be great. [It will] shorten lead times, and particularly for new variants, that will be refreshing change from what’s been a challenging couple of years,” he said.
After posting an all-time sales record of 60,529 units back in 2007, Honda Australia’s sales dipped below 20,000 for the first time in more than 25 years in 2021, and totalled just 14,215 units in 2022.
But with the introduction of ZR-V, the first new-generation CR-V in six years, and with the future expansion of Hybrid variants at more affordable price points, Honda Australia expects to see a significant turn-around in sales in the coming 12 months.
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