08 June 2017

Honda South Africa : Flying Under The Radar


Honda is a company that eschews discounting and relies on its products to sell at a price they deem reasonable. For that reason mainland Europe hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the marque, along with its conservative image. In Asia Honda is very much in demand as too North America. In the RSA, it is a fringe player that has carved out a modest niche for itself.

Back in 2001, the brand had a mere 0.5% market share, but by 2008 that had risen to 3.7%, based on the Jazz and Civic models. From there things slipped away to 2.0% by 2011 with all models taking some of the loss. Things have improved since and we shall see what has helped, by looking at some models sold here you may not have heard of.

Brio: It is a small 5-door hatchback model introduced in 2012 and for the last four years has been the best selling car. It is sourced from a low wage Asian nation so can be priced competitively without sacrificing its profit margin, as seems the case with the others mentioned below.

Ballade: The name is deceiving as it really a Honda City, a 4-door saloon car. It came out in 2011 and slots between the larger Civic and smaller Jazz (Fit).

Mobilo: This small MPV based on an extended Brio platform was introduced in late 2014.

BR-V: Again based on the Brio platform, this small SUV arrived late 2016. It is made in many Asian countries to sell in emerging markets.

Model 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Brio 329 3,609 3,478 2,782 1,513
Jazz 3,503 3,053 1,373 2,118 1,419
Ballade 1,237 1,822 1,871 2,119 1,185
HR-V - - - 977 1,028
CR-V 1,372 2,624 2,027 1,480 936
Mobilio - - 307 1,008 723
BR-V - - - - 561
Civic 1,999 1,453 850 402 468
Accord 576 306 223 163 184
CR-Z 54 22 33 16 54
Insight 24 16 7 - -
Total 9,094 12,905 10,169 11,065 8,071
Share 2.1% 2.9% 2.3% 2.7% 2.2%

Data source: Naamsa.

Summary: Honda's strategy has to increasingly take advantage of regional Asian sourced models to maintain a reasonable sales presence in the RSA, while still being able to do so profitably. it isn't a large brand and is unlikely to be but seems content to fly below the radar and quietly go about its business.

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