Honda Still On A Roll for 2023

THE excitement at Honda continues into 2023 with the impending launch of appealing new models and a facelift in the pipeline. Adding to that are the new 2S (Service and Spare-parts) centres, strengthening ‘key pillars’ in its model portfolio and boosting its e:HEV (hybrid) footing in the Malaysian market.

This follows through on the ‘Challenging Spirit’ in 2022 when Honda Malaysia sold 80,290 vehicles, representing a 51 per cent increase over 2021’s total volume. This number makes up 11.1 per cent of the total industry volume and allows Honda to retain its top non-national position for the ninth consecutive year.

Maintaining this successful run is what Honda Malaysia aims to do in 2023 and what better way to do that than to keep customers excited and attracted to what it has to offer in the new Honda models to come. The spotlight is very highly to be taken by the introduction of its first small Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the third quarter of the year.

There was  no mention of what this small SUV would be but given the success Honda has enjoyed in other markets, it has to be the WR-V. With its arrival here, Honda Malaysia says it would be the first Japanese mass market manufacturer to enter the small SUV segment. Its appeal is expected to be strong with a ‘comprehensive package of vibrant and bold design, advanced technology, practicality and comfort.

Based on Honda’s market feedback here, there is a strong demand for SUVs and the target customers are ‘young professionals who enjoy travel and outdoor activities’. The WR-V’s coming had a downside though as the BR-V would be discontinued. Apparently, the demand for a compact five-seater SUV is higher than that for a seven-seater MPV (multi-purpose vehicle).

The other two new models and a facelift are expected to be just as exciting being fresh interpretations of existing models. It is part of Honda Malaysia’s ‘strategic business direction’ for 2023 that fuels its ambition of a sales target of 80,000 vehicles that should reflect a 12.3 per cent market share.

Honda Malaysia President and Chief Operating Officer Sarly Adle Sarkum says 2023 marks a great milestone as Honda celebrates its 75th anniversary. To further strengthen Honda’s core identity and brand presence in the industry, he adds that the company is focusing on leveraging three key pillars for its models – Advanced Technology, Premium Offerings and Sporty Appeal.

Another significant direction is further strengthening Honda’s hybrid technology in the Malaysian market. While the government has stated that some 10,000 charging stations would be installed by 2025 (there are currently about 800 charging points here), Sarly believes that Honda e:HEV models serve as a bridge from ICE (internal combustion engine) cars to EVs (electric vehicles).

He explains: “Electrification is the global trend and future of mobility for the automotive industry. As such, Honda is stepping up its electric vehicle (EV) development efforts progressively. Honda believes that the hybrid technology is the right approach at this point of time, particularly in Malaysia. We want to ensure Malaysians’ needs are fulfilled with the most practical and relevant technologies before fully adopting EVs.”

Meanwhile, to improve customer experience, Honda Malaysia is introducing the 2S (Service and Spare-parts) Pit Stop. This is to promote its after-sales activities in meeting rising demand from ‘current and potential customers’
The company is also enhancing its Honda Connect system that includes safety, security and convenience features. Currently available only in the top RS range, it would be introduced to other models to enable more customers to enjoy a variety of functions available in the Honda Connect system.

Here too, the HondaTouch platform would be upgraded to enhance the ‘seamless experience’ for Honda customers by making it more convenient and accessible. Honda Malaysia says this is part of its efforts to step up Honda customers’ ‘digital journey and encourage more sustainable practices’.

 Yes, there won’t be a dull moment in 2023 for Honda customers – current and potential ones - and it’s best to enjoy the flow and reap the benefits along the way. – LPS