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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of Honda says he wants a compact crossover to take on the Nissan Dualis.

Honda sales have fallen 24 per cent in Australia so far this year. The compact CR-V is Honda’s only SUV in Australia, and despite being close to the end of its model life, it is still the brand’s third-highest-selling vehicle behind the light-sized Jazz and small Civic.

Honda’s European sales have also taken a hit this year, sliding 19 per cent between January and October. Honda Europe’s last profitable year was 2007, when it sold 390,849 vehicles. Sales in 2012 will only reach half that figure.

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito told Automotive News Europe a competitor to the Dualis (called Qashqai in Europe) was one new vehicle being considered by the Japanese manufacturer for the near future.

“We are very envious that the Qashqai from Nissan is selling very well so we are thinking about doing something like that,” Ito said.

The CR-V has a conventional SUV shape while the Dualis has a smaller, high-riding hatch design – a style increasing in popularity, especially in Europe.

Ito gave no indication of when Honda could bring its compact crossover to the market.

Two big launches should help Honda Australia reverse the downward trend in 2012, with the all-new Civic due around the middle of the year and the fourth-generation CR-V scheduled for the second half.




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