Monday, February 20, 2017

HONDA MALAYSIA'S 2016 sales report, 2017 hopes & dreams, some thoughts and the upcoming Honda City facelift

Some facts and figures from Honda Malaysia. Firstly, Honda Malaysia exceeded the set target to end 2016 with a sale of 91,830 units. 15.8% market share - no1 non-national brand in Malaysia and No. 2 in total industry volume in Malaysia. Wow.

Honda Malaysia targets 100,000 cars in a total industry volume of 600,000 (which seems to be higher than what MAA (Malaysian Automobile Association states I think). An 8% increase.

The revolutionary 10th Generation Civic recorded a massive 165% increase compared to Honda Malaysia 2015 sales of the same model, and became the market leader in its segment with 68% market share within six months of its launch. Every other C segment sedan got massacred after its launch. I have tested this car in its favourite 1.5 VTEC Turbo form and whilst I did not like the CVT gearbox, everything else is close to what the average buyer (and Honda fan) would want in a car. The looks, styling, interior space and a torquey engine would make people love it. If they don't drive it like a tofu racer, the car is fine. Very efficient.

Meanwhile, the Accord which has always been the flagship model of Honda Malaysia ended the year at the top of its segment with close to 2,400 units sold. The new facelift which looks like the front is take from the new Civic seems to have made the car look a little younger. This is a refresh, so looking young is a good thing. And the D segment Accord is the Honda which is top on my list (even with the launch of the new Civic here). I suppose its the overall performance, refinement in the package. A nice 2.4liter engine, a normal shifting automatic (rather than a CVT), nice handling and a well built interior. 

The Honda City is the best selling B segment sedan and the upcoming facelift adds what Honda Malaysia says are “C-segment features at B-segment price” . I do hope that with EEV (energy efficient vehicle) certification the price will go down a little. This would make it an even better proposal to some. Of course, with the new features loaded into it it may be the same. Fingers crossed.

The HRV is a hit for Honda. That 1.8liter crossover vehicle is everywhere. It serves its purpose as a high riding compact SUV. The engine is fine, but again, that CVT. Efficient but makes spirited driving an earful.

The BRV is a hit. People seem to like its 7 seater MPV but with SUV looks. I do think that it does look decent for what it is (even with a longer rear end when viewed from some angles) but a bit narrow. 

But It looks like there is no stopping Honda Malaysia. They are on a roll. Their products seem to have the right combination which is liked by most Malaysians. 

Now my personal view on the current crop of Honda cars is that they are better designed than their regular Japanese competitors - Toyota and  Nissan. They may have actually lost some of their soul and traded it up for profit margins but most still drive decently well and aren't styled by a committee filled with uncles and aunties. Their cars are by all means worthy of our hard earned Ringgit. 

But I sometimes question the need to spend Rm80-90k on a City. Which is still an entry level B segment car regardless of what you throw into it. It may be prudent to drive around in a RM40-50k car for a bit longer and give the RM80-90k cars a miss and buy a better, slightly larger C segment car. It may have C segment equipment, but it still has B segment refinement. Nice handling though.

Speaking of the new facelifted City, Honda Malaysia is previewing it in a few places. 

Honda Malaysia Targets 100,000 Sales Units In 2017
*Updated as of 18 February 2017
Kuala Lumpur, 16 February 2017 – In the challenging market environment of 2016, Honda Malaysia achieved sales that defied the lacklustre trend.

Even as the official Total Industry Volume (TIV) for 2016 fell 13% year-on-year and dropped below the 600,000 mark for the first time in six years to 580,124 units, Honda Malaysia exceeded the set target to end 2016 with a sale of 91,830 units. This remarkable achievement translated to a 15.8% market share, the second highest country market share in Honda automobile operations globally. Locally, this percentage maintained Honda at its No.1 position in the Non-National segment for two years consecutively, and propelled the company to No.2 position in the overall TIV for the first time in Malaysia.

For 2017, Honda Malaysia is once again challenging conventional thinking and expectations.
Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Katsuto Hayashi said, “Despite most analysts predicting a cautious view, we believe 2017 will have a positive outlook for the automotive industry and market sentiment will gradually improve in this region. With this, we are forecasting the TIV for 2017 to be 600,000 units.”
Against this forecast TIV of 600,000 units, Honda Malaysia has set the target for this year at 100,000 units, an increase of 8% compared to last year in order to maintain their market leadership position.
In announcing the sales target at its annual media event, Honda Malaysia also shared its direction and model plan.
In 2016, Honda Malaysia launched two new models which were a game changer and an executive sedan for a higher target market respectively. The All-New Civic and the New Accord set a new benchmark with their outstanding packages of drivability, design, safety and class leading advanced features. Both these models achieved No.1 sales and lead in their respective segment as of date.

The revolutionary 10th Generation Civic recorded an impressive 165% increase compared to Honda Malaysia 2015 sales of the same model, and became the market leader in its segment with 68% market share within six months of its launch. Meanwhile, the Accord which has always been the flagship model of Honda Malaysia ended the year at the top of its segment with close to 2,400 units sold.

For 2017, Honda Malaysia is looking at introducing 4 new models. In early January this year, the All-New BR-V was introduced into the Honda family to complete Honda’s line-up of utility vehicles, allowing wider choices for Malaysians. In this range, the CR-V is the pioneer of the SUV segment, offering a complete package of versatility and space while the HR-V launched in 2015 revolutionised the Compact SUV segment. Last year, HR-V sold close to 25,000 units and became our second best-selling model in our line-up.

The newly launched All-New BR-V continues the momentum by offering a new proposition with its unique combination of “styling of an SUV body and space of an MPV” to revitalise the 7-seater segment.
The BR-V received outstanding market acceptance and started the year on a strong note for Honda Malaysia. The 7,000 bookings received in 1 month is equivalent to 9 months sales target for the model which puts our sales target in the first year well within reach. The booking ratio is 83% favouring the high specs V variant which was above Honda Malaysia’s expectation while 17% is for the E variant.

Following closely behind the strong start to the year, Honda Malaysia began collecting bookings on 1 February 2017 for the New City, which is built on the success of the 4th generation model. The 4th generation City is a B-segment leader with more than 100,000 units sold since its launch in March 2014.
Like its predecessor, the soon-to-be launched City made a surprise appearance at the event to showcase its new exterior features. Offering “C-segment features at B-segment price”, the New City comes with upgrades of advanced features while maintaining its class-leading spaciousness and comfort. This Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) certified New City will provide excellent fuel efficiency and will be able to attract more upgraders and replacement car buyers. With this New City, high value C-segment features such as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Push Start Button with Smart Entry and new dual tone alloy wheels will be made available as standard across all variants.

Malaysians will be able to get a firsthand view of the New City ahead of its official launch, at the upcoming roadshows in select malls.

Alternatively, Malaysians can try catching the New City which will be moving from city to city every day at the locations as per the table below.

Complementing the focus on class leading value for money products is the emphasis on customer satisfaction.
Honda Malaysia’s sales has grown tremendously over the past 5 years with over 350,000 units sold. As the company grows, it plans to continue to upgrade every customer touch point from facility to infrastructure to ensure Honda customers enjoy the best ownership experience to achieve customer satisfaction for both sales and after sales. By prioritising customer satisfaction, Honda Malaysia is working to ensure that every Malaysian will be able to experience the Joy of Buying.
Honda Malaysia is confident that with a good strategy and strong challenging spirit, not only will they achieve their 100,000 units sales target through exciting new models at great value for money but also continue to meet market expectations and achieve customer satisfaction in 2017.

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