The Honda Vezel sub-compact SUV is expected to revive the long-dormant Honda HR-V nameplate when it arrives early in 2015.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told CarAdvice at the launch of the new-generation Odyssey people-mover that the HR-V nameplate is being considered for the new Jazz-based crossover, which wears the Vezel badge in its home market of Japan.
“Other markets are yet to be decided – Japan, at this stage, is the only announcement for Vezel,” Collins said.
He admitted that name may not work in markets outside of Japan, but said there are options – including Vezel – under consideration for the Australian market car.
“I think [Vezel] could be problematic, but we’re discussing it at the moment,” Collins said. “It doesn’t mean [Vezel] is off [the table for Australia]. We’re discussing that issue at the moment. Time-wise, I’m not sure when we will decide, but it will probably be over the next month or so."
Collins said the marketing of any new model plays an important part in determining its name, and said that despite the fact the HR-V hasn’t been sold here since 2001, he feels potential customers could be drawn to that nameplate.
“It’s an option,” he said. “I think HR-V’s got a pretty good awareness in the marketplace, I think it fits in well with CR-V … so it’s definitely in the mix.
“Even though it is an older car and it hasn’t been around for some time, I think that doesn’t exclude it from the discussion,” Collins said. “Nothing is off the table at this point in time.”
Any decision needs to be cleared by Honda HQ in Japan, but Collins said Australia’s input is important.
“It’s a global discussion, so I don’t think there’s any way it’s going to be called something in this market and something else elsewhere, and all these different names all over the world,” Collins said. “So yes, it’s a global decision, but we have significant input into it. Those discussions are happening as we speak.”
Collins said the new model, which will be sold locally with petrol and diesel powertrains and will compete with the likes of Ford’s EcoSport and Holden’s Trax, can’t arrive soon enough.
“We’re predicting that segment will get as big as medium SUVs in the next few years, so we think it’s just going to keep growing and growing,” Collins said. “As soon as we can get it to this market, we’ll get it in.”
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