Originally planned to launch in Malaysia on Q1 2022, all-new Honda HR-V gets pushed back
Hans · Jun 30, 2021 11:00 AM
Honda Malaysia had originally planned to launch the next generation all-new Honda HR-V in the first quarter of 2022, about 9 months after the model (sold as Vezel in Japan) went on sale in Japan, according to sources familiar with the matter.
However, the source also said that this timeframe is no longer realistic as the ongoing MCO is complicating matters and it is difficult to say when manufacturing activities can resume.
We are heading into July and with no end in sight for the current political-economic lockdown, Honda Malaysia can no longer commit to the Q1 2022 target.
At the moment, Honda Malaysia’s Pegoh plant and many of its suppliers’ plants are still closed. Although the government has announced that automotive manufacturing can resume once the country goes into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan, the government has yet to announce when the country will move to Phase 2.
Without the support local parts suppliers, who will have to re-tool their plants to produce parts for the next generation HR-V, Honda Malaysia’s plant in Pegoh cannot begin assembling the all-new HR-V.
But before the actual manufacturing work can begin, all parties related to the project must gather to study and understand the new product, and none of these activities can be done via a Zoom call.
For example, the paint supplier and engineers running the body and paint shop at the plant need to ensure that the paint on the plastic bumpers matches the paint on the metal body. Detailed measurements must be made and technical drawings must be verified before suppliers can produce the necessary mechanical parts.
Then there are other simpler accessory parts – floor mats, body kits, built-in dash cams, etc – measurements need to be done on the actual car, pre-production parts need to be verified and test fittings need to be done, before series production can commence.
The plant putting the car together must also make trial runs before series production can begin, and as you can imagine, you can’t do all these via Zoom.
And with JPJ not working at full capacity, vehicle type approval cannot be done and with no homologation papers, the customer cannot register the car.
In short, the cascading effect of the delays could push the launch of the all-new Honda HR-V well into mid- or late-2022.
ASEAN region debut in end-2021
Separately, the all-new Honda HR-V is expected to make its South East Asian region debut in Thailand by late-2021, but that too is contingent on the Covid-19 situation in Thailand.
Powertrain and specifications are still yet to be confirmed, as the currently available 1.5-litre powertrain options seem inadequate for our region’s customers, who are already used to the 1.8-litre naturally aspirated unit.
A hybrid is a given for Thailand, for country has high ambitions for electrification.
The all-new Honda HR-V made its global debut in Japan in February this year, before going on sale there in April. Sales will also begin in Europe later this year.
Strict CO2-emission-capped Europe will only get the e:HEV variant, which is powered by a 1.5-litre i-MMD 2-motor full-hybrid from the Honda City.
The petrol engine is good for 106 PS and 127 Nm, while the electric motor does 131 PS and 253 Nm. An eCVT delivers power to either the front or all four wheels, depending on specification.
Japanese market models add a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre (L15Z) petrol engine option. This variant does 118 PS and 142 Nm, mated to a CVT-type automatic.
The latest HR-V is now quite different from the model it replaces. It’s a more premium product, with a hint of Toyota Harrier-like ambitions inside it.
Some Japanese media have even commented that the interior of the latest HR-V (Vezel) feels more expensive than the Harrier.
Prices in Japan have gone up by about 6 to 9 percent, which double the usual increase in prices for a new model. But that hasn’t deter new buyers, as waiting list for the latest HR-V in Japan has now stretched to 1 year!
The 6 to 9 percent increase in prices might not seem like that much, but remember that our high excise duty will amplify the differences once the HR-V is launched in Malaysia.
What's the expected price for the 2022 Honda HR-V in Malaysia?
The outgoing Honda HR-V is currently priced at between RM 104,000 for the 1.8E to RM 118,581 for the range topping 1.8 RS. Remember that these are all SST-deducted prices, which will expire by 31-December 2021.
With the 10 percent sales tax added, and assuming the same quantum of increment in the Japanese market Vezel is applied on our local HR-V, we are expecting a circa 13 percent increase in prices (from current SST-deducted price).
This is assuming that Honda Malaysia maintains a reasonably high level of features - including Honda Sensing, and not downgrading the car with cheap, locally-sourced infotainment to offset the high taxes (and remain competitive against the tax-deducted quasi-national car Proton X70).
Estimated prices of the 2022 Honda HR-V are likely to start from RM 117,000 to RM 135,000. That’s putting it dangerously close to the Honda CR-V, which starts now from RM 139,912, but that price is without SST.
The previous 2020 SST-inclusive price list is no longer valid for the current CR-V, as the latest facelift model was launched in November 2020, and Honda Malaysia had dropped the CR-V’s price, across the range!
There are also rumours that Honda Malaysia is planning a new, smaller SUV that will slot beneath the HR-V, which will be moving upmarket.
The yet-to-be-named model has yet to make an appearance. The WR-V name have been suggested by some sources, but don’t confuse it with the current WR-V that’s on sale in Brazil and India, because the next WR-V will be a completely different model.