Thanks to its sales and production records being broken in China, Honda has been able to offset troubled times both at home and in North America. Profits for fiscal 2020-21 will of course be deeply impacted by the Coronavirus, yet that isn’t greatly affecting investments in all manner of new models due out later this decade.
Nothing can touch the 600 cc N-Box mini-vehicle in Honda’s home market – YtD registrations totalled more than 132,000 units as at the end of August – yet deliveries of the new Fit were up by 30% last month, the year to date tally being 66,4000. Amongst non Kei models, that put the little car in fourth place behind three Toyotas: Yaris, Raize and Corolla. Much of the reason is the popularity of the Fit e:HEV as well as a slightly modified variant, the Fit Crosstar. In some markets, these cars are called Jazz and Jazz Crosstar.
Fit/Jazz production commenced in January at the Yorii-machi plant in Japan but build in other countries will be added soon and during 2021. Then comes a mid-life facelift in 2023 with the successor series expected in early 2026.
The latest City (Fengfan or Ballade in some countries) was revealed to the media at the Bangkok motor show last November, sales commencing just before Christmas. India is another major market, although COVID-19 saw the car’s launch delayed until July. This small sedan can be thought of as the four-door version of the Fit/Jazz five-door. That also means a similar life cycle which should see a facelift announced in 2023 and a replacement in 2026.
Build also takes place in China. The plant in question, which was unusual for not being part of a joint venture but instead fully owned by Honda Motor, had its name changed to Guangzhou Development District Factory in March. Formerly, this facility, the annual capacity of which was just 50,000 units, was called Honda Automobile (China) Company Limited or CHAC for short. Its absorption made it GAC Honda’s fourth complete vehicle assembly plant.
The 2YN series Civic is now only a year away, with Honda of Canada Manufacturing said to be the lead global plant for the eleventh generation. Series production should commence at Alliston 1 in October 2021. There will also be a hybrid but at the moment, Europe is the only confirmed region for the petrol-electric hatchback. This should be the same 1.5-litre plus two motors powertrain which features in the Jazz e:HEV. A PHEV might also be offered.
Having discontinued the Civic Coupe at the end of North American markets’ 2020 model years, Honda is unlikely to offer a two-door body with this generation.
It will soon be facelift time for the Accord, something which can’t come soon enough for Honda dealers in the US. In the car’s long-time biggest market, deliveries are down by 32% as the end of August to 125,142 cars, compared to 178,570 for the Civic (-23%) and 203,762 (-20%) for the CR-V. Unless there is a major swing away from crossovers and SUVs later in the 2020s, American Honda will likely never see the sorts of sales numbers for this nameplate which it once did.
Happily for Honda, the Accord is a big seller in China. Year to date deliveries as at 31 July were 97,869 so once numbers for August are announced, the model might go very close to matching the YtD US total.
Looking at trends in both countries, China will likely become the Accord’s most important market by the end of this year. That probably means that the Guangqi Honda joint venture will commence production of the next generation car either at the same time as American Honda’s Marsyville plant or soon after. That should take place in September 2022.
The BR-V, a small SUV for lower income markets, is now more than half way through its production cycle, a facelifted model having been released last year. Based on the Brio, the 2SJ series model was developed in Thailand. Honda Asia Pacific is said to also be leading the project for the successor, that vehicle being due for launch from early 2023.
Thanks to its strength in North America and China, the CR-V is one of Honda’s best sellers worldwide. Launched in the fourth quarter of 2016 and facelifted a year ago, the 2HX shape vehicle will be replaced in two years’ time.
The current generation Pilot, an eight-seat SUV positioned above the CR-V in North American markets, was new for the 2016 model year. Its global debut was at the Chicago auto show in February 2015. As there was quite a size gap between these models, American Honda revived the Passport model name for what is effectively a short wheelbase Pilot.
New for the 2019 model year, the Passport’s global debut was at the LA auto show in November 2018. It shares the GLTP2 architecture with the Pilot and is built in the same factory. The only engine is a 280 hp 3.5-litre V6 linked to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. There are both front- and all-wheel drive variants. The next news should be a facelift for the 2022 model year, to be followed by the arrival of a new generation in CY2024.
JV with GM
Honda said in April that it plans to have General Motors build two electric vehicles for it. It is presumed that each will be an SUV. The announcement contained these statements:
“General Motors and Honda have agreed to jointly develop two all-new electric vehicles for Honda, based on GM’s highly flexible global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries. The exteriors and interiors of the new EVs will be exclusively designed by Honda, and the platform will be engineered to support Honda’s driving character.
Production of these Honda electric vehicles will combine the development expertise of both companies, and they will be manufactured at GM plants in North America. Sales are expected to begin in the 2024 model year in Honda’s United States and Canadian markets”.
The companies made a further announcement earlier this month, stating that they would expand their partnership for other models and vehicle platforms.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future platform intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center. That includes Honda vehicles not included in this report.
This is the first of two reports which look at key current and future models for Honda Motor. The second chapter will focus on Acura.