The Honda HR-V is already established as a major hit for its maker — as we recently laid out — but theres’s scope for the four-month old small SUV’s impressive sales to grow even further.
It all comes down to supply out of the Thai plant the supplies all HR-Vs sold in Australia, which is currently running at maximum speed on account of strong demand across Asia.
As a result, Australian demand isn’t keeping track with supply, most notably with the mid-range VTi-S and flagship VTi-L variants, which are attracting waiting lists of a few months.
In welcome news for Honda, 70.0 per cent of total HR-V sales have been of either one of these two variants, rather than the base VTi with its lower asking price and its probability of smaller margins. It reflects a consensus that the HR-V captures a little of that premium edge most old Hondas exhibited.
Speaking with us this week, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the company could be supplying between 100 and 200 extra HR-Vs per month in a perfect world.
That would push the car’s average monthly sales based on current figures beyond 1000 units a month, 20.0 per cent above initial projections that themselves seemed highly ambitious.
Despite not even being on sale for a good chunk of 2015, the HR-V is nevertheless Honda Australia’s top-selling model year-to-date. The HR-V flew out of the blocks immediately after its February 2015 launch, posting successive monthly sales of 825, 859 and 910. A boom June is expected.
The incredibly strong start for the HR-V and the equally good start for the Jazz has taken Honda’s annual total to 15,291 units, up 24.0 per cent. The HR-V’s market share is already about 10.0 per cent.
Breathing down its neck is the Mazda CX-3, which launched in March but has already amassed 3296 registrations this year. It outsold the HR-V, ASX and Qashqai to finish May on 1035 units.
One potential downside to the HRV’s success for the brand is the potential cannibalisation of the Civic and CR-V.
Collins conceded this was the case for the CR-V at least, but said the company would look to address this by pushing more marketing funds in that car’s direction, allowing it to conquest from other brands rather than suffering at the hands of Honda cross-shoppers.
“It’s [HR-V] taken a little off CR-V, we did expect that,” Collins said. “I’m not sure we’re happy to be exact, that segment is still double-digit growth and this year we’re a bit down. So we’re not entirely happy with CR-V, so that will be a real focus in the second half for us.
“What’s important is to get on the shopping list, the closing ratio is pretty good. [We need] more marketing behind it… I think it’s reasonably top-of-mind but there’s a lot of good cars in there, a lot of new entrants… awareness is pretty good but getting to that final shopping list [is key].”