2011 is a year that Honda Australia desperately wants to forget. Sales fell by as much as 25 percent thanks in large to the Japanese tsunami and the floods in Thailand. That’s not to say its ageing core product line up wasn’t the blame, nonetheless the once mighty Honda is looking forward to a brighter future in 2012. The Japanese company is planning a significant comeback next year with the launch of three all-new models as well as an aggressive marketing strategy. Apart from the recently launched Honda CR-Z, production for the Jazz is shifting to Japan next year, Odyssey has seen a price cut and there will be a new Civic hatch and sedan plus an all-new CR-V planned for the next 12 months.
CIVIC SEDAN AND CIVIC HYBRID
Vehicle type: Small car. Timing: March
One of the company’s most popular models is expected to get a boost in sales with the arrival of the new Honda Civic sedan and hybrid around March. Although it failed to dazzle the critics when it was unveiled at the New York motorshow earlier this year, Honda Australia holds high hopes for the model as it enters an incredibly tough and overcrowded segment. The current Civic, which has been past its used by date for some time, has seen its marketshare hit 2.9% this year, down from nearly five percent in 2010. Little is known on pricing and specification on the 2012 Civic sedan/hybrid but we suspect it will maintain a similar price point to remain competitive. The Hybrid variant will also look at chasing sales away from the Toyota Prius (which in itself, isn’t doing all that well in Australia), but it’s expected to remain a mostly niche product for the foreseeable future.
Vehicle type: Small car. Timing: Second half 2012
The Civic Hatch is the likely saviour of Honda as it’ll brings a sense of European sophistication and style when it goes on sale in the second half of 2012. Having little todo with its sedan brother, in terms of design, the hatch should prove a popular hit with Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Mazda3 buyers. Honda is also rumoured to be working on a turbo charged Type-R/S variant for the new Civic hatch, to give it that much needed sense of sportiness, which Honda built its reputation on.
Vehicle type: Compact SUV. Timing: Secong half 2012
Following the Civic Hatch will be the all-new CR-V which will help lift Honda’s share in the compact SUV segment. The current model still enjoys a reasonable five percent marketshare, thanks in large to Honda’s reputation, but the new car – which we’ve already seen – is more than likely expected to lift sales substantially, thanks to its good looks and updated technology. Combined with the new Civic, the new CR-V should prove as a turning point for Honda Australia as it comes back fighting hard.