by Daniel DeGasperi

Honda in Japan isn’t satisfied with the brand’s performance in Australia, particularly relative to Mazda. We are one of few markets worldwide where Honda is outsold by its fellow Japanese rival, and by a staggering margin – last year, 88,000 Mazdas were sold here, almost 58,000 units ahead.

“Honda [HQ] are unhappy that we are outsold by Mazda,” admitted Honda Australia’s principal advisor, Lindsay Smalley, who promises growth and expansion for the brand in Australia next year.

“If you look at Mazda almost anywhere in the world, they’re down. Except here. The position here … they [Honda HQ] find difficult to accept.”

He wants to see the brand become the “pre-eminent importer” in this country.

The sales growth starts with the Honda Civic range in 2012/13. The Thai-built sedan and UK-built hatch are currently retailing at $21,990 driveaway, and Smalley expects sales of the pair to notch up “at least” 1400 units per month. Last year the Civic nameplate averaged just 542 units per month.

Speaking at the launch of the new-generation Honda CR-V, Smalley told of how the Thailand floods meant production of CR-V, in particular, was cut off until the middle of this year. “We had no CR-Vs until July,” said Smalley, addressing comments that the compact SUV is down 39 per cent year-to-date.

Bolstered by a sub-$30K front-drive variant, Honda is out to attack the Mazda CX-5 with its fourth-generation CR-V. The official sales projection is 1000 units per month, however Smalley reckons this is a “very conservative” estimate.

Next year will see the launch of the new wide-body Accord. Although sales of the current generation are down 46 per cent year-to-date, its smaller Accord Euro sibling is up by around the same figure. Smalley cited the simple reason why: “We dropped prices on Euro to keep stock running through dealers. We wanted to keep as many staff as possible and the volumes up”.

The Euro is built in Japan and was unaffected by the Thailand floods, which destroyed the Honda plants that built Accord, CR-V and Jazz. Only for the latter small car could Honda switch production to Japan until the Thailand factory came back on line.

Next year, the Jazz Hybrid will launch in the first quarter, with Civic and CR-V diesels, and the facelifted CR-Z, to follow in the second. Longer term, a new MDX (see breakout story), Accord Hybrid, Civic Type-R, Legend, and S2000-replacement are forecast.

If Honda had the Civic and CR-V performing to their latest forecasts last year, the two nameplates alone would have added nearly 17,000 units to the company’s 30,107 total. That would have placed it marginally ahead of Volkswagen (44,740) and Subaru (34,011), but still behind Nissan (67,926) and Mitsubishi (61,108).

  • Joe

    …….just have a good look at the photos above……that should tell you why they’re not selling…….

    • $29896495

      You’re dead right! Honda designers and product planners should be removed. We do not get the good engines! We do not get the Sports Coupes with those engines. Honda did their selling here on products such as CRX, Civic Coupe, Civic TypeR, Accord Coupe or (Hatch back earlier) Integra, Prelude as main stream aspirational products. None of which exist in this market any more. At least two still exist in the US and other markets with good engines.

      Smalley should be removed if he doesn’t get the good cars with the good engines here. But here is also an example of a car company exec. with blinders on. Euro up, Big Accord down – same as the rest of the market and he makes an excuse. just wait, that will be another big car failure.

      Bottom line is there is nothing to draw people to Honda, their clean attractive designs are gone, the engines are gone. they have nothing they can direct people too after they’ve drooled over a coupe. To put it simply. Oh, and they are OVER priced

      • FJCruiser

        How can they sit there and be surprised by our markets reaction?  

        Look at the comments on this forum.  Might give you an idea why my wifes car is a Hyundai and my current 4wd is a Toyota.  Not interested in your current selection of cars.  Not competitive at all.  Mazda, Hyundai and Kia have smashed you to pieces by being innovative.  No one wants to rev to 6000rpm through a 10+ year old (and ever so slightly tweaked) VTEC engine.

        And here’s some free advice for you – Australia is a sophisticated market and likely an indication of where the rest of the world is going.  Be warned.

        • Joel

           I couldn’t agree with you more. We are sick of being
          treated as a dumping ground for some car manufacturers, sending 2nd
          rate vehicles. The AUD is high at the moment, and as such we expect to get
          decent value and quality.

          We are rated 6th in the world for car-ownership per
          person, but because our volume isn’t as high compared to USA etc we are not taken

          This is why the game is changing for so many cars here, and
          Mazda, Hyundai, Kia and the like understand that. Ford is completely lost and
          Holden seems just as bewildered.  What a
          shame. I loved my Holdens, but after their Daewoo debacle cars I’m afraid they
          are no longer the right Koreans for me…

    • Jacob

      Gotta agree there. KIA now has a German guy designing their stuff, and they look good. 

  • nickdl

    Maybe Honda HQ should start developing some better product than Mazda…

  • Wile E Coyote

    Pricing is the main issue.

    People will no longer pay a big premium for a Honda.

    Like Sony compared to Panasonic ,Samsung etc.

    • Dave W

      That is a great analogy. Honda really is the Sony of the automotive world. They’re still under the impression that their products are premium and charge as such.

      Now Kia/Hyundai moved into their territory just as Samsung moved into Sony’s. In several years, Kia/Hyundai will match their quality and if Honda still clings onto their pride, they’ll be in deeper trouble just like Sony is now.

      • Joel

         I would argue that Hyundai/Kia are almost matching them now in terms of reliability. Hell, if Honda has that much faith in their cars, give them a 5 year warranty or better to prove it.

  • O123

    Well there is a reason mazda is selling. look at the new CRV who the hell designed that thing?

    • F1orce

      The CRV above looks good and looks even better in person.

      Mazda’s are hardly a fashion statement.

      • Itachi

         you should go see an eye doctor, seriously, the new butt is horrible

        • Monk

          And a primary school teacher.  No need for an apostrophe when adding an ‘s’ to indicate a plural.

      • Henry Toussaint

        I think that the CX-5 is quite ugly at some views..

    • Rice_eta

      Who designed the new CR-V? I’m guessing a team of balding, overweight Americans who love filling their cup holders up with bottles of full sugar Mexican coke.

      • Luke Brinsmead

        LOL. Probably true.

  • Damian

    Whilst Mazda were busily selling the RX8 and the 3 MPS, as well as their diverse range of diesel vehicles, Honda was twiddling their thumbs, wondering why sales were flagging.

    Here’s a hint, Honda.  TYPE R.

    • JooberJCW

      I doubt the Type R will get Honda back on track, they need a whole new car line up, a whole new design language to shake things up.

  • Amlohac

    Dear Honda,
    Build something exciting.

    • davie

      Dear Honda,

      When you build your whole 80’s and 90’s brand reputation based on multiple sporty desirable cars and F1 and then kill that and keep it buried for a decade, you do make it hard for people to find any reason to buy your stuff.

      • Amlohac

        There is nothing at all in Hondas entire range that makes me want anything they build. Not one vehicle. Most brands have at least one car that makes you go “hey thats pretty cool”.

        • Roadtard

          Accord Euro the only good thing.

    • 17753643

      Did you not hear about the 2L turbo 225kw Type R?

      • Modern Man

        Not in Australia!

      • Clem

        NATO (no action talk ony)

      • davie

        let me guess, due in 2015 and will cost 50K ?

        • AndyGF

           … and will only be sold in japan… and where it will be restricted to 150km/h, and require 102 octane fuel.

          And 225kw is the number they smoke everytime they light one up.

    • Dave W

      Dear Honda,

      Perhaps if you start aiming your products at younger generation and not just the pensioners, you might be able to increase sales.

      Furthermore, stop making your civic in the UK and sack the designer. I used to lust for a civic type R but since it became the fat ar$e overpriced car, it has been replaced by the Mazda 3. And when Mazda refresh it next year, especially if it looks like the leaked image, you’re gonna cry your eyes out.

  • AW

    Maybe Honda needs to listen to consumers…

    Accord Euro Wagon would be a great start.  

    • Sumoisadog

      Mazda has 3 which has capured female market , it has (had) CX5 and CX7 and CX9 . Mazda 6 comes in diesel and wagon shapes as well as sedan and a hatch. BT50 is Ranger in disguise and also selling ok.
      None of those have any meaningfull cometition from Honda .

    • JD

      surprisingly the Accord Euro Wagon is sold in New Zealand.

      Check out the Honda NZ website for proof

      • ryan bane

        Little good it does Honda NZ though – wagon sells at about a dozen a month (around a 10th of the CRV).  Waayyy too expensive, and never see it advertised by Honda either… 

      • Ted

        What a nice vehicle, what won’t these be imported to OZ !!

  • Able

    Well if their current range wasn’t so crap then maybe they’d sell some cars! Honda’s are NOTHING they used to be and while I admit Mazda’s aren’t either, Mazda’s current range is far superior to Honda’s current range. Mazda’s actually have flair and they drive very well, unlike any current Honda. I know they won’t but hope they read all of our comments.

    There, I said it.

    • Sydlocal

       The Accord Euro still drives VERY well. That is about it though!

  • Tex

    Accord Euro Wagon, Diesel engines, Type R… inject some excitement back into our local range!

    Back about 10-15 years ago, I thought Honda was definitely the fun brand of the Japanese… but Mazda has really taken off with styling, performance and reliability here.

    Honda these days is more an alternative to Toyota… which is a shame.

    • JooberJCW

      Unforunately even a poor alternative to Toyota as it lack the same brand values.

    • Dave W

      And now Toyota has the 86, a good honest-to-God no-frill sports car with great handling. It’s critically acclaimed and a runaway commercial success.

      What’s Honda’s alternative? The wasted opportunity CR-Z. If what Wheels magazine said is true about their handling, they could’ve made that model into a sporty lineup with N/A and turbo engine like the Veloster and be successful with it. Instead they turned it into an overpriced and underpowered hybrid sport wannabe.

  • Roadtard

    Way back when ‘Powered by Honda’ F1 cars were sticking it up Ferrari, the ‘H’ badge had some cachet about it – especially with Halo cars like the NSX…..

    Honda lost the plot somewhere.

  • F1MotoGP

    Where is diesel Civic, Accord Euro and CRV? Prices….Civic Hybrid cost more than Camry Hybrid!
    Dealers….they would not negotiate on price and I saw on the net same car 2 months later for $2000 less. Where is direct injection engines Kia got it and the list is long.

  • F1MotoGP

    and I forgot we use to have Prelude and Integra!!

    • ABMPSV

      Those were really great cars.

  • Aus_poppa

    The real problem is that Honda, which a decade or so ago looked to being the BMW of Asia, was sidetracked by the success on the American market, which had the effect of Autralia getting the “softer” US market products which were in the main almost terminally bland. Just be thankful that we were spared the Honda Cross Tourer and the Accura ZDX both of which whilst looking pretty awful in photos look even worse in the metal.

    The best recent decision they have made is to price the Civic hatch at effectively the same price as the sedans, and for the future they need to expand the Accord Euro range to match the Mazda 6, using diesels and wagons, leaving the USA type Accord to battle the Camry.

    They also need to sharpen up their hybrid range. They need hybrid Jazz, and the Insight needs to be upspecced to try to counter Prius.

    • Doctor

      And that’s pretty much the problem in a nutshell.

  • Birty_B

    What do you expect with a the half assed range they’ve had for the last 5 years. They still build a quality product with appeal to it but there hasn’t been enough appeal to overcome the price and enough product to break a good percentage of the market. 

    • Sumoisadog

      Get Honda Ridgeline here :-)

  • Jacksport56

    I bought the new Honda Civic VTI-L in April .. nothing special .. wont buy one again . Hyundai i40 looks the goods .. better value for money .. warranty .. full  size spare .. things add up …

    • Tex

      So, why did you buy it then?

  • Crummydore

    I have always had a soft spot for Honda as I learnt to drive in a 1979 Civic – loved that car (brown 4 door). When I was a teen in the 80’s I fell in love with the MY84/85 Civics and eventually saved enough to buy one. But the best Honda I ever owned was a 1979 Accord hatch.

    Honda’s were always the brand I desired – the CRX, Preludes and in the 90’s the Type R’s.

    Fast forward to 2012 and time to buy a new small car for the bride – looking in the $20 – 25,000 zone – new Civics not long been released….. but it’s a dud. To cut to the chase I ended up with a Focus, back in the day the (equivalent) Laser didn’t come close to touching the Civic, not the case any more.

    Honda need to get back to designing cars that are desirable in looks and feel (ignoring the Euro Accord). They have great engines but the interiors are no good, the designs are not well done: example the new Civic Hatch has a front that could double as a snow plough, and the new CRV’s bum need to go to Jenny Craig.

    Honda’s used to be low, wide, sexy and had spacious airy interiors with dash boards that were modern and low.

    if they go back to what they were good at they will be fine – and stop designing cars for the Yanks!


    • M.

       The new civic hatch is most certainly not a dud! You might not like the design, which is fair enough; everyone has their own ideas of what looks good. But, it’s certainly stands out. A relative of mine purchased one recently and I would’ve lost count at the number of times somebody (family members and just random people at car parks, etc) have come up to have a look or made a comment on how cool the car looks.

      In regards to the interiors, the civic hatch has one of the roomiest interiors in it’s class. The magic seats are fantastic, boot size is huge, it can easily fit 5 adults; certainly not small. Also how much more modern a dash board do you want? digital speedo, colour display with all the information you could ever want…the list goes on.

      • Crummydore

        Sedan is a dud…. hatch had not been released when we were looking.

        I still stand by my opinion of the hatch design – the front end is awful, and the dash is gimmicky, was on the last model and still is.

      • Dave W

         It better be roomy considering the fat ar$e.

        As for the dashboard, I never like the tiered design, specially when they’re wasting the dashboard real estate with widely spaced chunky dials and but-tons. Totally unnecessary.

      • Unidexter Hopping

        The hatch is decent effort and the pricing is sharp. Issues for me with the car are:
        – No sat Nav
        – No rear foot room
        – Digital only speedo
        – Runs only on 95 RON
        – 5 speed auto

        I don’t mind the styling, it has a good boot and fuel economy is better than a petrol i30. I also think the Honda is better engineered and built and has better resale.

        What it highlights is the Thialand is producing cars for Nth America that grate with Oz tastes, the hatch is cool the sedan is daggy.

  • Martin

    If Honda sold more than one SUV, they would be in a better position.

    • Nasal Explorer

      You need to read the Car Advice headlines. Front wheel drive & diesel variants of the CRV to on the way, with MDX to return as well.

      • Joel

         too little too late.

        (and they will be overpriced no doubt.)

  • Modern Man

    Dear Honda,

    Please realise that turbo charging something is NOT a sin. give us some low pressure turbo fuel efficient engines. Your engineering used to be second to none with VTEC etc and you have since let EVERY other manufacturer surpass your engineers.

    If Toyota can create a fun RWD car that changed its image overnight why cant you do the same but with a direct injection VTEC motor in it that would kill the competition. You have history and pedigree and yet you choose to ignore it.

    Become, once again the Brand to desire and Aspire not the brand to Retire into. Even the older folks will only buy your products once as it doesnt make them feel alive. It just makes them feel depressed that their grandkids hate getting into their cars to go for a drive.

    Imagine (hopefully this part of the brain isnt dead) a 70 year old shows his Grandson his new Civic Hatch in ‘Groovy’ Green only to be asked in child innocence why he bought a Chinese car and he doesnt want to be dropped off at the school gates anymore by him because it is ugly. I know I wouldnt be happy if i was him.


    • Modern Man

      BTW I remember a magazine article talking about the first Bangle designed BMW’s and saying that the future of BMW will be great styling.
      This was not due to Chris Bangle but due to the the fact the Guys designing the alloys tended to be the next car designers and they looked absoloutly horn at the time.

      If this is the case, Honda, you are SCREWED.

      1980’s Alloys deserve to stay there.

  • save it for the track

    Unfortunately for us and our small market we will always end up with cars designed for the US or Europe. While many seem to sprout how they prefer handling etc. and European feel, as against ‘spongy’ or bland US styled and inspired models, the sales success of bland/boring /spongy vehicles such as [insert Toyota model here] seems to say otherwise. Many European models initially with diesels etc. were unavailable with automatics which again dominate the Australian sales charts. Our market will get what it is given. Frankly we are a drop in a bucket in sales terms compared to US and European markets. Some brands modify suspension for ‘Australian conditions’, but aside from that how can we expect vehicle Manufacturers to make cars that online bloggers and commenters and motoring scribes SAY they want to buy, when the sales charts in Aus seem  o suggest that bland and boring is just fine thanks?  (Toyota)

  • 3D4

    Honda turned from sporty, exciting brand into boiled potato manufacturer.. How they can possibly be surprised by low sales if they don’t care about customers needs and desires…?

    • LN

      Exactly this!


      Honda thought it will be the leader of green technology when it comes to cars
      and we all got are bland and boring Civics, Jazz and CRVs. Look where they are
      right now, Toyota and Mazda are so far ahead of them even the crappy Nissan
      brand is doing much better.


      Honda needs to go back to its sports car roots.

  • horsie

    The pathetic TV advertisements are not helping either.

    That geeky noddy voice telling us that honda’s are clever.

    Sounds like a cross between Thomas the tank engine and postman pat.

    So they are basically trying to appeal to looser middle aged men who
    still live with their parents. No one wants to be clever or if they do they
    will have a prius.

    People want excitement and fun. Passion !!

    • F1orce

      LOL yeah

      … What’s next

    • M.

       Honda have recently changed marketing agencies to reposition their marketing activities due to the poor outcomes of their informational ads. It’s unfortunately true that Australian’s would rather see a car driving along some windy roads in a cool colour and with a popular song playing, then actually learn about the tech that’s in their cars.

      And no, i’m not a loser-middle aged man who still lives at home. I’m a 22 year old Marketing student.

      • davie

        irrespective of the manifestation of the repositional activites ergo the consideration of the outcomes of the informational positionioning of the advertising in relation to is impact on the proleteriat who expend energy at places of emply to gain currency which is directed at procuring automobiles…. blah blah blah

        … the adds were awful.

        and idiotic

        when you eventually learn marketing, you will realise that advertising is designed to make a product desirable so people buy it. If a song and a windy road works then maybe the old honda adds were too “clever” for their own good

        • M.

          Hah, you’re rude. I understand marketing; advertising has different objectives depending on the product/brand/company it’s trying to promote. In the end, yes, it’s underlying intent is to stimulate interest and purchase, but certain brands want to/need to educate their customers about their products. This can be very effective in certain markets; i.e. health care products etc. 

          The point I was trying to make before you responded to with utter garbage and primary-school knowledge of Marketing is that, Unfortunately for Honda, running ad’s that were intended to educate consumers about certain technological features of their vehicle didn’t really work, because it doesn’t suit the Australian market. 
          For example, the fact that Australian’s buy Hyundai’s in droves says a lot for the level of intelligence that marketers must deal with.

          • davie

            Not a matter of suiting the market, what exactly was Honda trying to educate its customers about?

            – That it had a 5 speed auto (wow) which changes gears on inclines? amazing!
            – That it had an inferior hybrid system to toyota?
            – That this was somehow a reason to consider it over it’s competitors?

            Honda methodically killed most positives which people associated with the brand (sportyness and advanced technology derived from F1). and tried to re-brand itself as a “clever” company making “clever” vehicles. Now 10 years later no one knows what its brand is about and it is forced to discount.

            Re Hyundai, they KEPT its positives (cheap and cheerful pricing) but set about addressing their weaknesses (quality, styling, warranty, technological leadership, mainstream appeal).

            Sales numbers suggest that Hyundai has been quite successful in doing this, to the point where it now is charging as much as other asian manufacturers.

          • M.

            Of course it’s a matter of suiting the market. The plain truth is, the general market of Australian new-car buying customers just don’t care about technical features such as how the transmission works, how ivtec works etc. Advertising is so much about suiting the market! These ad’s didn’t suit the Australian market, so they weren’t successful. People didn’t care about what they were being told, perhaps because they couldn’t understand it, or because these features had no relevance to their lives. 
            Just to further clarify, I AGREE THE ADS WEREN’T SUCCESSFUL, but saying that advertising isn’t a matter of suiting the market is just stupid. 

            Regarding your comments on the ads, though. The ad you’re referring to about the 5 speed auto that changes gears on inclines, actually makes no mention of the fact that it’s 5 speed nor does it indicate that it’s a transmission that changes gears on inclines. Even the most uneducated vehicle consumer knows an automatic vehicle changes gears on inclines. Instead, the ad was highlighting their technology called ‘grade-logic control’ (yes, i’m aware most of not all automatic cars would employ a similar technology in their transmission). Now the bit of information the ad looked to provide was that, for driving up or down inclines/hills, the intelligent sensor in the Honda vehicle would adjust the gear accordingly to provide a smooth ride up or down. This was ‘dumbed down’, shall we say, so the average consumer could understand. Now the slightly more vehicle-knowledgable consumer may also be able to identify that this in turn means less instances of gear hunting (which many modern automatics are still susceptible to) when travelling up or down hills. Might I just add, in the laters iteration of the Honda 5 Speed automatic (say, civic hatch) the transmission does a VERY impressive job of avoiding gear-hunting and provides a very smooth ride. 

            Now that’s just one example, and whilst I think this particular ad was successful in providing this basic information; this just doesn’t matter enough to consumers. I.e. they weren’t likely to go out and buy a Honda because of this feature. 

            And regarding Hyundai; yes, I see their success, and i’ve noticed some pretty decent advertising focusing on building certain brand elements such as reliability, quality, technology etc. However you’ve just contradicted yourself, because Hyundai has most definitely moved away from their cheap and cheerful positioning of the early 2000’s (i.e. say hi to hyundai) Hyundai moved away from their original positioning, and this worked for them. Honda has done the same (mainly due to the lack of performance vehicles, no F1 etc) and it unfortunately hasn’t worked. Doesn’t mean they aren’t good cars.

            I’d argue that almost any products success can be very heavily attributed to marketing, and so this is just as true for companies like Hyundai which have been able to successfully reinforce these positive brand elements. Again, I think Honda has had very average advertisements over the past few years, especially in comparison to the ‘impossible dream’ ads which aired some years ago, or ‘the cog’ for the first gen Euro. But going back to my very first comment, with a new agency hopefully they can more clearly position themselves and focus on their positive brand elements. Honda are still a great company, they’ve just been marketed poorly in Australia. 

      • horsie

        the tech like the ‘special cam widget’ lol. if they had have called it a ‘Racing Mode Timing Actuator’ or something like that, and got someone apart from james valantine to announce it. then maybe the tech angle may work. 

  • M.

    The problem here is peoples perception of Honda. Those who were once
    loyal to the brand and who appreciated their innovation and racing
    heritage seem dissatisfied with their current direction. I’ll completely
    agree that the Honda of the 90’s- early 2000’s was incredibly exciting
    and innovative, but if you look at things differently now, you could see
    that they still are.

    Hybrid tech, electric vehicles, robotics,
    jets; Honda are innovating in different areas than they once were. In
    the 90’s they created insanely good VTEC engines (which numerous
    manufacturers now use today) and in the 2000’s they are focusing on
    greener and more futuristic technologies. In Australia this change in
    position hasn’t been positive for them, but they still enjoy the same
    ridiculous success in the USA they always have. 

    Who’s to say in 5-10 years time we won’t look back on the Honda of the 90’s and say “hey, Honda’s hydrogen fuel-cell technologies, robotics and aircraft innovations etc have really influenced this market today”.

    I really like Honda, as it probably evident from what i’ve just written. I do get disappointing by their lack of sports car offerings, but i’m happy to see a renewed focus towards the NSX, TypeR and S2000. I can also see that Honda are still a great company, doing great things for the world and making safe and reliable vehicles which, in my opinion, still look pretty cool.

    As for Mazda, their success in Australia quite simply can’t be explained. To me, their designs are either boring and bland, or completely over done. I’m so sick of seeing the Mazda 3 on the road; it’s become the new commodore. Their engines are average, interiors very average. They just feel like cheap-japanese to me. Mazda are basically failing in EVERY other overseas market except Australia; which means they don’t actually make great cars (or else, they’d be selling well elsewhere) but rather, they have been able to successfully market to certain segments to capture sales. Marketing is undoubtedly the key to their success.

    • JooberJCW

      I agree to what your saying here, the article states Australia has the problem with the cars Honda produce everywhere else in the world seems to be doing well. Honda Japan would be more better off to stop selling cars in Australia instead of building a range of cars that is more to the Australian public’s desires.

      I would say the only change in tune for Honda Australia is really just their marketing of their products, even then i’m pretty skeptical that it will vastly improve anything at all.

    • Wile E Coyote

      No…Price is the key reason for Mazda success i.e. sales volume.Same as Toyota.The market does not perceive much difference between well known brands  but is still a bit wary of less established brands such as Hyundai ,Kia etc.Little to do with the quality of ads and vehicles Simply volume is achieved because Mazda and Toyota do the best deals.
      Honda still thinks its the best but the market doesn’t care what they think and see little difference to a Toyota or Mazda.The market may not understand the tech but it sure understands the price.Honda just has not woken up and is not prepared to sacrifice margin so they should stop whinging.

      • Sydlocal

         Mazda do the best deals? They discount no where near as much as Toyota, Ford, Holden, Nissan, Hyundai etc etc etc.

      • M.

        Mazda well priced? Eh, no. For pricing to have a significant influence on sales volumes they’d need to be priced significantly below the competitor which they’re clearly not.

        Sales sucess is all about the quality of marketing; which includes ads, pricing, product delivery etc. Sales aren’t achieved simply because they do the best deals, but because they’re marketed well.

        • Wile E Coyote

          Firstly I said pricing for Mazda AND Toyota were keyForget advertised price.Walk into a Toyota dealer and Mazda dealer and compare the preparedness to bargain versus Honda.I just have and the discounts were very major for Mazda and Toyota  and Honda were pathetic by comparison.”Vroom Vroom” and “oh what a feeling” meant diddly squat to me and I expect to most serious buyers.Marketing people always believe in their own bull$hit. 

          • M.

            Haha, again you’re missing the big picture.
            Firstly, marketing is NOT just advertising and promotion. It involves everything from the packaging (i.e. features etc) of the product itself, to the way it’s delivered, how it’s advertised, how it’s sold….everything.

            Now as far as bargaining for a price discount on a vehicle….that’s NOT the Toyota, Mazda or Honda brand’s setting that precedent. Legally they have no control over what their dealers sell their products for, after they’ve supplied said vehicle at the wholesale price. So the most logical reason for you not being about to get a ‘bargain’ from the Honda dealer/s you visited, is that the dealer themselves; who is a completely independent entity from Honda Australia Pty Ltd, didn’t want to discount. A dealer is a business themselves, they have a license to sell a particular brand/s of vehicles and can do so however they wish. 

            Now in the case of price promotions set by Honda, for example at the moment with their end of year clearance, that is advertised/promotional pricing set by Honda themselves, and for which they would have to provide compensate dealers for reduced margins on their vehicles. There are actually some really decent discounts at the moment, for example Honda Civic hatch $21490 drive away normally $24990. But again, this is completely separate to the ‘price bargaining’ you were speaking of. 

          • $29896495

            Actually Honda does control the maximum retail price. Like any supplier of goods. Under your hypotheses all prices would be different every where across the country and in fact from dealer to dealer.

            What it comes down to is margin. To get a lower price when negotiating, the sales man, will either have a large margin to play with, or be willing to sacrifice commission. 

            Often dealers who consider their product doesn’t sit with other competitors  (meaning better – snob factor) will refuse to bargain believing that some one will come in and pay the set price. That it’s only a matter of time.

            These days that’s a sure fire way to reduce sales and close a business. 

          • Wile E Coyote

            To deal with your points in response to mine.
            Definition of marketing- irrelevant-
            Toyota,Honda Mazda set the prices, the dealers have lattude and often get “factory rebates” as you even point out.So if Mazda and Toyota give bigger rebates the dealers have more room to negotiate on price than does Honda and that is a big plus no matter how good the competition is at marketing.
            Dealers are bound by their contract with the factory they cannot do whatever they wish.Where do you get this garbage from.You obviously have no knowledge of how the car industry works.
            I suggest you spend some time in the real world.

          • M.

             Sorry, yes. I should have been specific. I understand that the dealers contract with Honda has a set price maximum/price guide. What I was trying to get across was that the dealer can discount as much or as little as they want. That’s the point I was making.

            As far as the rebates go, you’re just making assumptions. Perhaps Toyota and Mazda provide their dealers with rebates more often, perhaps they don’t. It could also be that, considering they have higher sales volume/turnover, the dealers are willing to make less on each car because they sell so many. For someone like a Honda dealer, who’s been struggling with stock shortages, waiting for new models etc, they don’t have the same sales volume as Toyota/Mazda and so aren’t willing to loose as much of their margin.

            I have an ‘outside’ view of how the car industry works only from my experience in dealing with them and also a little research. But what I do understand very well is business, and the Australian system regarding business licenses/franchises etc.

            Also,  “I suggest you spend some time in the real world” –  no need to be petty and rude, I wasn’t.

          • Wlle E Coyote

            I am rude?…what a hypocrite… you commenced your barrage of arrogance with” Haha again you are missing the point”Hardly respectful.
            Never assume that people that contribute to these sites are as ill informed as you.

        • Wlle E Coyote

          No assumptions being made on price rebates they are a fact.Price also includes finance deals.Look at the Nissan ad on this page zero interest and zero deposit.You think the dealer is doing this or the finance arm of Nissan?
          I am also not making assumptions I have worked in the industry.
          You are the one making assumptions and getting it wrong.
          Your comments cannot be taken as credible.

    • Sydlocal

       The Mazda3 has been one of the best selling cars in Canada for quite a few years now. That is about it though!

    • Pops

      Mazda’s success is easily explained. Japanese cars will always be a safe choice for consumers given their value for money & reliability. Mazda has become popular & leapfrogged Honda by providing these 2 key offerings in combination with sporty looks kicked off in their Zoom Zoom campaign with the 1st gen 6 & 3 models whilst Honda, Toyota & Subaru churned out boring whitegoods for the past decade….

  • Redback

    They need to to put engineers and “car guys” back into positions of influence within the company.  At present it’s run by shiny-bummed bean-counters who know less about cars than refrigerators.
    Want a profitable small business?  Give an accountant a profitable LARGE business and let him run it for a few years…

  • kf

    or atleast make mugen bodykits available as options for the current range……at a reasonable price that is.

  • John

    Dear Honda

    More power – in every single model – would be nice. 6 speed manual in the next Jazz, please. Cruise in the base Civic hatch would also be nice (not to mention expected in its class and price point and present in almost all of its peers).

    Ditch VTEC on the smaller motors (in my opinion it just doesn’t add enough to make it worthwhile). Look at turbocharging/direct injection.

    Do almost ANYTHING but what you are currently doing.

  • youbadgesnob


  • save it for the track

    The funny thing is, with Honda, Mazda, Nissan and the like all banging on about being the number one importer, is that in just a few short years all vehicles will be imported. Does anyone seriously believe that Toyota will keep manufacturing here after Ford and Holden stop? As for the ‘intelligence’ remark above referencing Hyundai. That can just as easily be applied to Toyota.

    • Nasal Explorer

      The implication being that all Toyota and Hyundai drivers are operating at a lower IQ? What brand should I buy to prove how smart I am?

      • Darryl

        A Smart?


    Honda parts are expensive…anyone had a Honda before would know about it.

    • Golfmother

      Had the prelude and the accord in the 90’s , zero problems and ran them both to over 80,000 km in 4 years , so good that the dealers would replace little things like a heater dial switch or a door handle rubber at service time ” sir there is a possibility the heater dial could fail so we replaced it ” , they were setting a precedent for service .

      They just missed the move to smaller turbo motors , should have jumped 10 years ago .

      • Dave W

        I liked their unique approach to using high revving engines. It was their signature like Mazda and their rotary (I’m pretty sure I can’t say w4nkel just as I can’t say but-ton, though I can say crappy censor).

        • Golfmother

          Agreed certainly loved to rev , always sounded so rattly when cold but oh so smooth once warmed .

  • Shak

    To everyone complaining about the looks of the CR-V you need to see it in person. At the Sydney show almost everyone that i saw sit in one or walk around one had only positive things to say. It is one of those cars that while not beautiful has a unique presence in person. 

    • Darryl

      The Pontiac Aztec had a unique presence as well. 

      • Heisenberg

        Walter White agrees.

  • Norm

    It’s proof that no market is the same. From an Australian perspective Honda is a company that has lost it’s mojo.

    I think the most complete and coherent car in their range is the Jazz. 

    Remember the first Euro Accord? S2000? Come on Honda.

  • Hung Low

    Honda, whY have you stopped selling the monkey bike?

  • FiestaGod

    Honda’s problem is this.

    The volume selling segments in Australia are SUV’s (particularly 7-seaters), 4×4 Dual Cab Ute’s, Small & Light Cars (sub $25k) and Mid-Size sedans/wagons (sub $50k).

    The CRV was always a compact soft-roader and can’t compete with the Territory/Kluger/Captiva on space and engine options. These vehicles dominate sales. Perhaps the new (and bigger) CRV will help them. But Honda really needed to keep the CRV as the smaller soft-roader, and introduce something bigger that could act as the family vehicle. Honda’s lack of investment in engines and drivetrains in this segment has also hurt them.
    The CRV should be priced and compete with the CX5/i35/Dualis/Forrester. Honda has nothing to go against the Kluger/Territory/Captiva, whereas Mazda at least has the CX-9.Honda has no dual cab ute, Mazda has the Bravo/BT-50.Honda has an excellent light car (the Jazz), but look at some of the engine and drivetrain options in competitors like the Polo and Fiesta – diesels, small capacity turbocharged engines, dual clutch automatics. This essential engineering tech is missing from Honda’s light car range.
    Similar story in the small car class – the Civic is a good vehicle, but where is the diesel, the range of forced induction, fuel-efficient petrol engines, the transmission technology and features like self-parking on the Focus? For the price you pay for a Civic, you should be getting more tech at an engineering and features level. Mazda has a brilliant range of vehicles in the “3” series – petrol and diesel, luxury and budget and a performance “halo” car.The Accord Euro is a class-leader in the medium car segment. But competitors offer diesel engines, wagon bodies and performance variants. Honda has 2 models. That’s it. The Mazda 6 at least has diesel and wagon options.Honda’s are incredibly well built and very reliable.

    But that’s not enough anymore.

    Their range is too narrow and they are over-priced for what they offer. The biggest glaring fault is a lack of engine/transmission choice in their vehicles.Until Honda start to compete with Volkswagen, Mazda and Ford in their range of engine and transmission offerings, their sales will lag badly. 

  • Davidck Ong

    look at your prices, Honda
    Compared with Mazda which is built in Japan, while Honda are built in Thailand but more expensive, you have taken a lot of margin

  • Martin

    Honda should just sell Mazdas in Australia. Seems like the simple solution.

  • Aus_poppa

    I have a friend who has an (American style) Accord with Satnav. Upgrade the Satnav? Certainly Sir, that will be $700! His wife is just about to take delivery of a Hyundai I30 Elite ( not even top of the range) Upgrade the Satnav – free, it will automatically be upgraded each time it comes in for service. I always believed that Honda was trying to emulate BMW – well it got the arrogance right.

  • slammedV

    Current Gen civic im sorry is rubbish, styling looks like the old one that has had a stroke, too fussy and got rid of all the design cues that made the old one a smash.

    Civic hatch but im sorry honda you havent made a decent appeal to the masses hatch since the EG/EK civi of the 90s. The new on at the front it again stroke related and no cruise control on the base model is as usefull as a beachball in a hurricane.

    No more stroke designing car that resemble stroke victims. A. Its not nice and B. Theyre not selling.

    As for the legend and the S2000 two cars that can not be stuffed up. I love the origional of the last shape legend, very smooth, slick and bloody sexy thing it was and the S2000 was fun.

    As for the rest you have no one to blame but yourself. Mazda sell because of the one thing you see before anything else its styling and the cars happen to be very well equiped, reliable (which honda are not anymore), good value and genuine fun to drive (again honda your not)

  • dustonearth

    Dear Honda,

    Please build some cars that suit the rest of the markets such as Europe and Australia. Blind -foldedly building cars for the Americans and forcing other nations to accept their design language is unacceptable. That is the main reason why you failed. 

    When other companies have adopted the European designs, Honda, you, were just busying with pleasing the Americans and licking their coke. It is not hard to work out why Mazda and Hyundai is getting successful in down under.

    If you are unable to see this now, you can have my waving hands. Bye-bye and see you never. 
    Kind Regards,

    • F1orce

      The U.S. market is a more important priority for just about every corporation than ‘down under’

  • Billy

    I can’t help but agree with all these people taking a shot at Honda’s blandness. They need to build something exciting, if not for the purpose of making a profit, but for building brand loyalty for the future.

    A good example of this is the Toyota 86. If you own a Toyota sports car when you are young and have fond memories of it later in life when your needs change, are you going to rush out and buy a Mazda or Nissan for the family or are you going to at least give a Toyota 4×4 or sedan a try because you have had a good experience?

  • ZAP

    This should be Honda’s “What To Do” list:
    Sack The Designer And Product Planners.
    Bring more vehicles that compete with the leading brands so Toyota 86 and Mazda CX5 or the 3
    Get rid of the factory in England unless your designer is sacked because thats where the Civic and CRV are made
    Dont go Volvo style idk ? Just the back of the CR-V looks like a volvo.

    Bring the Integra, Civic Type R and the upcoming NSX. You will bring alot of attention to the guys who are into JDM styling. ALSO Bring better engines like a better V6.

    Hopefully, Honda can get rid of its bad name of blandness or all that. You will attract more attention to buyers instead of them getting old and outdated versions of the models they are looking for :)

    • ABMPSV

       I remember in in 2008 Honda was talking about bringing in the Accord Euro diesel. That was 4 years ago! In NZ you can buy Accord Euro wagon, why not here?  I hope Honda entry in to WTCC with Honda Civic 1.6T is a start!

      • jerome

        I think the wagon did not come to Australia because of non-compliance with ADR rules

  • ZAP

    AND VTEC ! People love the sound.

  • Antmindel

    Hondas are amazing cars,very well built and finished,but they miss opportunities locally.
    The Euro is brilliant,but in many markets overseas,they offer the very good looking wagon,as well as the diesel option.
    In the US markets,they even offer the 6 cylinder option,which is not a volume seller,but a halo model.
    A diesel wagon would have sold like hot cakes…surely ???

  • Altezza

    Dear Honda,

    1.) Bring back S2000, Integra, Prelude and halo car NSX and offer Type R variant in each of them
    2.) It’s time that Honda need to put diesel engine in Civic, CR-V and Accord
    3.) Honda design team need to be completely overhauled
    4.) To get back in the game, competitive pricing is important

    If they can do this, they will win back customers and their faith will be restored.

    • Golfmother

      Loved my prelude VTIR , with ATTS , cornered like a mini cooper , funny how similar tech has appeared in last few years , and that VTEC motor could really sing .

      Down side was no torque so the old wrist did lots of cog swapping .

  • Rocket

    My wife used to have a 1994 Integra VTIR which had 125kW from 1.8 litre which was a sweet little car. Fast forward to 2012 and we get 104kW from 1.8 litre. What the………………

    • Mark

       All due to driveability needs and emission standards. I think in 1994, if your car didn’t blow plumes of smoke, it met the standards.
      Now emission standards are so strict, you could virtually breath in exhaust fumes and you’d be ok. (JK)

  • Deeps

    Honda unhappy with sales= Customers unhappy (Honda products+ Honda dealers)

  • Dave W

    On the plus side, Honda’s motorcycles remain highly desireable.

    • Itachi

      Desirable for what? the new 2013 CBR600RR still doesn’t come with a slipper clutch, even Ninja 300 have it as standard now. Honda is just too arrogant to listen to customer and watch its competitors. They have the tech, but sorry it’s not available to you if you wanna buy, but you still gotta pay the premium.

  • Modern Man

    without going to a website who can name the extensive honda car lineup?

    General Answers would be Civic, CR-V, Accord and Jazz

    Anyone see why they cant beat Mazda.
    they have 2,3,6, CX-5, CX-9, BT-50.
    and all these come with different engines body styles and transmissions.

    Wake up Honda and smell the variety.

    Oh wait just read a diesel civic is coming next year (in Europe first).
    BUT…… Manual only, oh well another FAIL!

    even all euro manufacturers build diesels in both transmissions and the japanese think they dont need to design an auto to suit a diesel.

  • Jing99_

    Failed products (most!) with failed after-sales service.

    2007 Accord Euro, paid $500+ for each 6-months service.

    2009 Toyota Aurion, paid $120 for each 12-months service for first 3 years. $280 after fixed Price Servicing Finished.

    Consumers are not going to let you rip them off for so long.

    • VtiR

       If you paid $500 for each 6 month service then the dealer was ripping you off. 6mth/10,000 k service on an Accord Euro is an average of $220.

  • Gems

    Honda’s brand image is now getting down to the levels of Suzuki,Proton, SSangyong, Greatwall etc. So get rid off the premium price tag and play at their level. It will be good to launch the Brio hatchback and Brio Amaze sedan (launched in Thailand) to compete with the above mentioned brands. These models will justify the present brand image and can sell volumes. But what to do with the attitude of the sales people?!!!!!

    • M.

      There is absolutely NO way Honda’s brand image is similar to that of Proton, Ssangyong or Great Wall. That’s just a ridiculous statement. Honda has brand perception equal to that of other similar importers, such as Subaru, Mazda. And they are constantly rated in the very top ranks of vehicle reliability. Also, they are lightyears more technically advanced than any of those companies you mentioned.

      • $29896495

        They are more advanced in other parts of the world but not here. those days are gone. Now they are just another importer selling cars no better and some times worse than their rivals.

        The days of innovation for Honda in Australia, and to a degree in other countries is gone. We are being treated like any other Asian back water fed the bare minimum.

      • Gems

        You seem to be a Honda salesman or a blind fan of Honda. Honda Australia has lost its plot. They may be doing better in other parts of the world. But what is the use for us Aussies? Their recent partnership with Proton itself proclaims that they have  somethings in common. Look at the partnerships made by other Japanese brands. Toyota with Subaru and BMW, Mazda with Ford, Nissan with Renault, Mitsubishi with Peugeot Citroen PSA. I agree Honda had better brand image in the past but not now at least in Australia. This is not the 80’s or 90’s but its nearly 2013. So update your knowledge about cars with latest statistics. 

  • Salesman

    This must be close to the longest comment stream ever on this site. There are so many good points it’s not funny anymore. After 6 years with Honda and around 3000 vehicles sold, I left Honda to sell another brand partially because of what I was offered by them but also because Honda Australia was only working on excuses instead of solutions.

    • John

       Yes. It’s pretty clear that the so-called wisdom of the crowd has listed quite a few things Honda Australia could and should take on board. But often (in my experience) companies that indulge in public navel-gazing (such as Honda are doing) aren’t really interested in what other people think.

      Let’s see what Honda do over the next 5 years.

      • Vti07

        I hope we don’t get Proton based vehicles in the future from Honda. Don’t forget of the recent announcement of a collaboration between the two companies.

        • Hehe

          Nah I think it should be the other way round

  • filippo

    Why aren’t they selling more? Well, the previous model Civic hatch arrived in Australia with a $35k price tag. What on earth were they thinking? Also, their refusal to import the staggeringly beautiful Accord Euro wagon beggars belief. In short, they have the wrong cars at the wrong prices.

  • I wish

    New gen civic range  details released.

    Key points

    -Return to double wishbone suspension
    -Engine options
    -125KW DOHC 2:0L Vtec Engine,
    -148KW DOHC 2.4L VTec Engine
    -120KW Diesel Engine
    -188KW Turbo Type R Engine
    -Advanced weight reduction, kerb weight now 1100KG
    -4 Door sedan, 3 and 4 door hatch backs and a coupe.
    -Class leading handling

  • Hehe

    Time to sweat the once arrogant Honda dealers!
    Bargain hard people and squeeze as much as you can! – Hondas are perhaps not the most exciting cars to drive but they are reliable and cheap to run (there is always a misconception of their running costs but I know for a fact they are quite cheap to service and repair nowadays).I test drove the new CRV 4wd (the 2.4L one) and they were ready to do a deal for $33.9k!

    • Not Me

      One can purchase a MY12 new VTi Accord Seppo for $24k out the door with about $1k of “accessories”. MY11 Demo VTi Accord Seppos can be had for $22k out the door with similar options. 

  • David Salter

    Honda’s main problem is dropping models without replacing them. Type-R, S2000, MDX, Prelude, etc. MAZDA have a complete range, you go in and there is something for everyone.
    Honda have a limited portfolio; Civic Sedan, Civic Hatch (never a big seller when the last UK version was way too expensive), CR-V (Civic on stilts). Jazz, (Then low selling boutique cars like, Insight, CR-Z, Odyssey and Legend). The story above quoted a new large Accord – but no mention of a new Accord EURO which is a nice car, but looks like being pants by the new 2013 Mazda 6. That is going to be an absolute sales hit over the next 12 months. In fact I believe it will steal sales from the VF Commodore, let alone the mid size Camry, Mondeo, Koreans, etc.
    P.S. does anyone aspire to volume cars made in Thailand?

  • Jerry14

    The problem is, they stopped making exciting cars, refused to use Turbos, and in my oppinion, dropped their brand image to compete with Toyota rather than Euro luxury cars. The new civic is an unmitigated disaster for the brand. Expensive, thirsty, slow and without any character.

    • Hehe

      well, they are not priced to compete with Euro luxury cars!
      I have to disagree about your view on the Civic. I think it’s miles better than the competition except for the looks. I’ve driven most of the small cars in this segment. 
      Kia / Hyundai have nervous rides and very light steering. 
      Corolla, well…. most cars beat a corolla
      Mazda 3 – the only competition but I can’t get past that goofy smiley face look
      Lancer – nahhhh 
      Golf – expensive to run and touch wood, repair

      • Sydlocal

         What about the Focus?

        • Hehe

          good point
          havent had a chance to drive the new model. 
          Thoughts on running costs and reliability?