The Japanese brand has had a torrid 2011, with sales down by 25 per cent compared with 2010 and a lack of all-new models. admitted so at today's media launch of the new Honda CR-Z hybrid sports car
Honda Australia’s director of sales and marketing, Stephen Collins (who also sits on the company’s board), admitted at today's launch of the new Honda CR-Z hybrid sports hatch that 2011 had been an extraordinarily challenging year for the company.
“2011 is a year we’d like to put behind us,” Collins said.
Collins believes Honda will end this year with sales of around 30,000 units, half the 60,000-unit mark the company achieved in 2007. Honda attributes the sale slump to a twin disaster scenario at its overseas operations, which resulted in six and three months of limited vehicle production from Japan and Thailand respectively.
The all-new Honda CR-Z, which goes on sale next week, is the start of an aggressive comeback strategy to lift annual sales back to 40,000 and beyond, the company says. A great deal of imports will shift back to Japanese factories as the company’s Thai facility (which accounted for 80 per cent of Honda imports to Australia but still remains under water) gets back on line. First in line will be a special edition Japanese-built Jazz, arriving in February next year.
Apart from the CR-Z (of which only 600 sales are expected annually), Honda Australia will also launch the Model Year 2012 Honda Odyssey update (with updated styling, rear-view camera, satnav and other additional features as well as price reductions of $2,000 for base model and $1000 for luxury), but more crucially new-generation versions of the Civic small car and CR-V compact SUV that sit in two of Australia's most popular vehicle categories.
Honda says it will put its efforts into its “value for money” and “feature-packed” strategy to regain lost market share. The company will also introduce a range of diesel-powered vehicles starting in 2013 with the British-built Civic hatch.
Collins believes Honda has all the right ingredients to return to a position of strength in the Australian market.