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A Tenuous Stability: Honda’s Still Bullish on Automobiles, but Even Segment Leaders Have Weaknesses

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Image: Honda

Whereas the Ford F-one hundred fifty will probably nonetheless be America’s prime-promoting vehicle when every of us dies a pure demise, the entries under it’s going to certainly be topic to vary. Within the close to future, at the least, anticipate to see passenger automobiles sink additional down the best-vendor listing.

Final yr, Honda — a producer with a reasonably even car/mild truck cut up — confirmed up 3 times on the U.S. Prime Ten record: in seventh, eighth, and ninth place, with the compact CR-V main the best way, adopted by Civic and Accord. This yr’s gross sales haven’t been as variety to the Accord because it has its phase rival, the Toyota Camry, but a minimum of the Civic’s virtually holding its personal.

Publicly, Honda stays optimistic concerning the continuation of automobiles, claiming they’ll stay its main focus. Sadly, even for fashions that seemingly can do no improper, there’s hazard indicators aplenty.

Chatting with Wards Auto, Ray Mikiciuk, assistant vice chairman of American Honda’s gross sales operations, says the model is “dedicated” to the passenger car phase. “We consider passenger automobiles will proceed to be a mainstay of our model,” he stated.

In fact, that dedication is based on there being consumers in that phase — particularly, consumers who need to drive house in a Honda. There’s no future in chasing ghosts.

Regardless of his optimism for Honda automobiles, Mikiciuk says 2018 would be the first yr that Honda’s mild trucks surpass its automobiles when it comes to quantity. Business-vast, the car/mild truck cut up was 30.5/sixty nine.5 % in July, in response to Wards Intelligence knowledge, which means Honda is an outlier, not the norm.

Image: Honda

Touting the Civic’s standing because the best-promoting vehicle in California, in addition to its reputation with sure buyer demographics (Hispanic, African-American, and Asian), Mikiciuk dismissed July’s 28.three % gross sales drop because the product of a robust July 2017 gross sales determine and the truth that, “We simply ran out of Civics.” Like GM and virtually each different passenger car maker, he views Ford’s wholesale ditching of the phase as a possible alternative.

Analysts aren’t fairly as rosy of their outlooks. Ed Kim, vice chairman of business evaluation at AutoPacific, praised the brand new-for-2018 Accord, but stated it’s not catching on with consumers. Gross sales figures bear this out. On the finish of July, Accord gross sales had fallen 14.5 %, yr thus far, in comparison with the Civic’s four.7 % dip. Honda’s subcompact Match noticed quantity fall 7.2 % over the primary seven months of the yr.

In California, the Civic’s best market, consumers proceed shifting from one aspect of the aisle to the opposite, decreasing the pool of car consumers. Knowledge from the California New Automotive Sellers Affiliation exhibits mild-truck registrations rose 5.6 % in that state through the first half of the yr, as passenger car registrations dropped 10.1 %.

Regardless of the gathering storm clouds, Honda noticed match to launch a brand new car mannequin this yr — the reborn Perception hybrid — which joins the Readability range in Honda’s inexperienced car push. Hedging its bets, there’s additionally a brand new, but not formally introduced crossover poised to land smack-dab between the CR-V and Pilot when it comes to size and price.

Honda gained’t say it, but it little question hopes that gross sales misplaced to an more and more car-averse public will hopefully be returned to the model by way of the brand new mild-truck entry.

[Images: Honda]

– A Tenuous Stability: Honda’s Still Bullish on Automobiles, but Even Segment Leaders Have Weaknesses –

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