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Honda rules out double-cab ute and full-size SUV for Australia

The Japanese brand will continue to miss out on two of the biggest segments of the Australian car market.
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Honda Australia says there is no prospect of adding a double-cab ute or full-size size seven-seat SUV to its local line-up, despite repeatedly requesting them from head office in Japan.

Double-cab utes were the top three sellers outright last month - Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton - and the HiLux has led the Australia new-car market for the past three years in a row.

But there is no prospect of Honda making a right-hand-drive version of the Ridgeline pick-up sold in the US because the cost to re-engineer it would be prohibitively expensive.

The Ridgeline is sold exclusively with a petrol 3.5-litre V6, whereas the Australian ute market is dominated by diesel engines.

The US also sells a full-size seven-seat SUV which is significantly larger than the seven-seat CR-V sold in Australia.

But it is also off the table for Australia for the same reasons as the ute: it’s a North America-only model and the cost of conversion to right-hand-drive isn’t viable.

“There’s no prospect of it,” said Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins, when asked about the chances of a ute for Australian showrooms. “We’re constantly saying there is this big chunk of the market which is growing that we don’t compete in but … there’s just nothing on the horizon. Those are the two gaps we’d love to fill.”

Honda also does not have a joint venture partner globally that would enable it to adapt another brand’s ute.