Honda Australia says it’s expecting at least 20 per cent growth this year over 2016, as it gears up to launch new variants of the popular Civic as well as a new version of the CR-V.
Honda Australia, which has 107 dealers nationally, is seeking a return to the form it enjoyed before the global financial crisis, and expects to grow volume substantially this year on the back of these two new product launches.
Speaking to CarAdvice at last weekend’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix, Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins admitted that the brand’s growth ambitions defied a somewhat slowing market.
“Last year we did just over 40,000 cars, this year our plan is to do 48,000 which is big growth in a market that is not growing that substantially,” Collins said.
“It’s mostly two things, Civic hatch but also CR-V, which will be the second half of the year. We think that will give us a really good number against our last couple of years, so that’s what we are aiming for.”
The growth has come from a revised Civic lineup as well as an increasing sporty presence in the brand’s models and variants.
Cars such as the Honda NSX supercar and upcoming Civic Type R have had a positive impact on Honda’s brand perception, though even Collins admits that while it's personally satisfying to have such cars, its success is hard to measure directly.
“It’s hard to measure [impact of NSX]. But at every single opportunity, we use that car. It’s a head-turner and really illustrates the Honda sporty DNA. We will continue to use it at every opportunity.”
Civic will become the brand’s best-selling model by the end of 2017, as Honda seeks to take a more dominant position in the hotly contested small car segment.
“We obviously started this year with Civic sedan well and truly on sale, and we are very happy with how it is going. We have a 20 per cent private market share and it’s doing everything we want it to do for us.
"Of course in the next few weeks we will launch the hatch, which is a much bigger segment, and we think really for the first time we will be really competitive in hatch and sedan [small car segment].”
“[As for] new CR-V, we are planning on making it really, really competitive in that medium SUV market, with some really good new technologies. We will price it aggressively and really get CR-V back to where it was a few years ago,” Collins said.
Honda Australia currently commands 3.8 per cent market share of new-car sales, year to date, up from 3.4 percent at the same time last year.