The debut last week of Honda's new Accord sedan isn't all the carmaker has in store for Australia this year, with three more all-new models still to come.
The first will be the replacement for the Odyssey people mover, and while it has yet to surface, we can likely expect the recent Jade concept and the Civic Tourer to offer a glimpse of the styling elements we'll see with the new Odyssey.
The new Odyssey will launch sometime in early 2014, but the other two models scheduled for release promise to add significant volume to Honda Australia’s sales sheet.
One of those cars is the all-new Jazz, which is likely to arrive sometime in the third quarter of 2014.
Speaking with TMR at the launch of the new Accord in New Zealand, Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins said that the strong sales performance of the new Jazz is expected to continue with the arrival of the next-gen model.
“Jazz has done pretty well for us,” Collins said to TMR.
“We’ve been averaging 600-700 per month but of course that car is close to six years old and we’re looking forward to a new model.”
But Collins ruled out a significant price adjustment for the Jazz range, which currently stretches from $14990 for the 1.3 litre GLi manual to $22,990 for the fuel-sipping Jazz Hybrid.
“That light segment is very very fierce in terms of new models, spec, price, you name it,” he said. “But I don’t see that we’ll be substantially repositioning it [Jazz], I think we’re pretty happy where it is.
“We’ve positioned Jazz very much as a value-for-money proposition, and we’ve put a lot of spec [equipment] in it. I don’t think that will change with the new one.”
Nor will Honda be fielding a sub-light contender in this market.
“One of the [sub-light] cars that we were investigating was the Brio, but at this stage the business case doesn’t add up for us,” Collins said.
“There is an opportunity in that low end of the light segment, though, and it’s a case of whether we can find a product that works.
“There are a few options, but at this stage there’s nothing confirmed under Jazz.”
Intended to slot in below the popular CR-V, the Urban SUV will be built atop the same platform used by the upcoming Jazz and feature a range of small-displacement petrol - and maybe diesel - powertrains.
With the lower-end of the SUV market about to explode with the arrival of the Nissan Juke, Holden Trax, Ford Ecosport, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008, a 2014 arrival for a small Honda SUV would be a boon for the Japanese automaker.
With Honda Australia’s new CEO and Managing Director Noriyuki Takakura aiming to sell 60,000 cars per year in 2015 (bringing total sales back to levels last experienced in 2007), the addition of a small SUV and an all-new Jazz will no doubt be central to achieving that target.