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by Tim Beissmann

Honda says it remains committed to hybrids in Australia despite selling just over 400 last year and facing the prospect of selling significantly fewer in 2014.

Honda’s 403 hybrid sales in 2013 included 175 Insights, 141 Jazz Hybrids, 58 CR-Zs and 29 Civic Hybrids.

In the first four months of this year it sold 132 petrol-electric models putting it roughly on par with 2013, though sales are set to decline as last year’s two strongest performers disappear from showrooms in the coming months.

honda-jazz-hybrid

The Insight was discontinued earlier this year. Honda has sold just one in 2014, and only a handful remains in dealer stock.

The company’s best seller this year, the Jazz Hybrid, notched up 101 sales between January and April, though the current-generation model is now deep in run-out mode and will not be replaced by an all-new model (pictured above) until the first half of 2015 at the earliest following the arrival of the regular Jazz in July.

That leaves Honda with the CR-Z (pictured top), of which it has sold just 21 this year, and the Civic Hybrid (pictured below), which is still yet to crack double figures (it sold nine to the end of April).

honda-civic-hybrid

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told CarAdvice selling hybrids in Australia was “hard work”, and said while the local division remained committed to the technology, he admitted it had become less of a focus recently.

“As an organisation globally and locally we’re still committed to hybrids, but I think that market is still very much in its infancy and our focus probably in the last 12 months or so has been more on our core models than our hybrids,” Collins said.

“Our strategy locally has been very much petrol engines, [they] are very much the core of our business. We’ve introduced diesel, and also hybrid is supplementing that, but yeah, it’s hard work.”

Hybrids make up just 1.3 per cent of Honda Australia’s 9789 sales so far this year, while Hondas account for 3.7 per cent of total hybrid sales in Australia. Japanese rival Toyota dominates the market, with the Camry Hybrid and Prius family making up roughly 80 per cent of all hybrid sales.

Honda-NSX

Collins said Honda Australia would bring a number of next-generation hybrids to our market in the future, though beyond the Jazz Hybrid the only new model it has committed to is the NSX supercar (pictured above), which won’t arrive locally until at least 2016, and could cost as much as $250,000.

Internationally, Honda sells regular hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the mid-size Accord sedan, though the local division has no plans to bring either model here.




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