After more than a quarter of a century in Australia, the Honda Odyssey badge will cease to exist locally in the coming months due to the closure of its production facility
Australian sales of the Honda Odyssey people mover will cease during the first half of 2022 as a result of the closure of Honda’s Sayama plant in Japan that was the sole source of the model outside of China.
Production of the North American-market Odyssey will meanwhile continue in Alabama, USA. The American Odyssey sits on a distinct platform shared with the Pilot large SUV and other US-made Honda models, none of which are imported to Australia.
The discontinuation of the Odyssey marks the end of a 26-year run for a nameplate that has adorned Honda MPVs in Australia since 1995. The outgoing Odyssey was the fifth generation.
Powered by a 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine making 129kW of power and 225Nm of torque, the outgoing Odyssey received a late facelift at the beginning of 2021. Two variants were available, with the base Vi L7 priced at $48,700 driveaway, while the high-specification Vi LX7 commanded $56,000 driveaway.
It is not known how many units of the Odyssey are understood to still be on sale in Australia, though the Sayama plant isn’t due to be shuttered until March 2022.
Sales across 2021 have totalled 927 for the Japanese-built Odyssey. Sales peaked in 2005 (3543) with the popular third-generation that was renowned for its slick, low appearance that mimicked a station wagon rather than a tall van.
All Odyssey models sold in Australia have been front-wheel drive, and all have used petrol engines. Since 2004, the Odyssey has been four-cylinder only, though 3.0-litre V6 power was available between 2000 and 2004.
People movers and passenger vans have become a niche proposition in Australia in recent years, with the Kia Carnival being the dominant player in a segment that has shrunk considerably since its peak.
With 4954 sales notched up so far in 2021, the Carnival also competes with more overt van designs like the Volkswagen Multivan (832 sales) and Toyota Granvia (159 sales), as well as the recently-released Hyundai Staria (289 sales).
Shifting market preferences have seen a greater proportion of families bundle into large three-row SUVs in recent years, though Honda does not have an entrant in this space.
When the Odyssey is discontinued in Month, the brand’s most spacious offering in Australia will be the midsize CR-V SUV, which is optionally available with a compact third row providing seven seats total.
In American markets, Honda sells the Pilot large SUV with a seven seat option. At 4940mm in length, the US-market Pilot is similarly-sized to the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Palisade large crossovers that have come to typify Australian family motoring in the 2020s.
People mover sales have also shrunk considerably in the US, though they remain viable enough for the more sophisticated American-market Honda Odyssey to compete tightly with the local Toyota Sienna Hybrid.
This tall and spacious segment has found something of a home in East and South Asian markets, where luxurious vans are favoured as executive and large family transport.
Privately imported preowned examples of the Nissan Elgrand and Toyota Alphard, popular vans in Asian markets, are increasingly common sights on Australian roads. Earlier this year Lexus trademarked its LM 300h hybrid MPV in Australia, though Chasing Cars understands that Toyota has no plan to directly market either the Alphard or the Lexus LM in Australia.
No direct replacement for the Honda Odyssey, either in people mover or large SUV form, is understood to be planned for Australia.
The discontinuation of the Odyssey leaves Honda with four models on sale in Australia: the incoming eleventh-generation Civic hatchback, the HR-V small SUV that is due for replacement in April 2022, the CR-V midsize SUV, and the Accord sedan.
A full brand refresh will be completed in Australia over the next 18 months, led by the arrival of the latest Civic this month and followed by the launch of the third-generation HR-V in mid-2022 – including in hybrid form – before all-new CR-V and Accord models come to Australia by mid-2023.
A premium push is underway at the Japanese manufacturer, which will sell its latest Civic small car in one high-tier specification priced at $47,200 before on-road costs.
The next-generation Accord has been confirmed for Australia, set to arrive in the local market at the same time that it launches elsewhere in 2022.
The popular Jazz light hatch was not replaced in Australia when the fourth-generation version launched overseas, with the manufacturer – like many others – at the time citing high costs to compete in the budget car space.
There was also no replacement for the entry-level City sedan when it departed the Australian market in the second quarter of 2020.
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