Too big, too expensive, sales of USA-focused Honda CR-V and Accord to end in Japan

Hans · Jul 13, 2022 09:50 AM

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Globally, Honda is seen as the closest rival to Toyota but in its home market in Japan, Honda is actually closer to Daihatsu and Suzuki than Toyota. This is because more than 50 percent of Honda’s sales in Japan come from kei minicars, the sort of cars Daihatsu and Suzuki sell most.

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The Honda N-Box has been Japan’s No.1 selling car for 7 consecutive years, since 2015. It contributes over 30 percent of and all signs point to 2022 being another dominant year for the N-Box.

Too big, too expensive, sales of USA-focused Honda CR-V and Accord to end in Japan 01

Combined with the N-Box’ sister cars like the N-One, N-WGN, and N-Van, Honda sold 305,397 kei minicars in 2021. That constitutes 53 percent of Honda Japan’s total sales of 579,740 units.

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In other words, nameplates like the Civic, CR-V, and Accord, which the rest of the world see as core models for Honda, are actually not that popular in Japan.

Also read: Across the world, the Honda Civic is an unstoppable force, so why is it ignored in Japan?

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Honda N-Van, a tiny shoebox on wheels that's more practical than any SUV

In recent times, these models are more American than Japanese, as USA is the biggest market for these 3 Honda models, and as such, the products have to be tailored to meet the needs of Honda’s most important customer base.

This also explain why the current generation Honda CR-V is so big. The all-new 6th generation model that just debuted earlier today is even bigger, growing 71 mm longer, 21 mm wider, and 18 mm taller.

Also read: All-new 2023 Honda CR-V debuts with new 193 PS 1.5T engine; hybrid with 207 PS

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All-new 6th gen 2023 Honda CR-V

The diversion of these models’ identities haven’t gone unnoticed by Japanese buyers, who have shied away from these every-larger Honda cars and overwhelmingly prefer a far more practical Honda N-Box or Vezel (HR-V to us).

To be clear, this isn’t a Honda-only problem. The Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Camry aren’t big sellers in Japan too.

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2023 Honda CR-V is now even bigger than before

Honda has now confirmed that it will discontinue sales of the Insight, CR-V and in Japan later this year. Although these models are still on Honda Japan’s website, dealers have already been notified of the models’ discontinuation.

The discontinuation of the Honda Insight is logical, as its role has been made redundant by the Civic e:HEV.

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As for the Honda CR-V, it's due to the closure of the Sayama plant. There is no news if the all-new 6th generation 2023 Honda CR-V will be launched in Japan, but all signs point to it being a permanent discontinuation.

Japan's Honda Accord is imported from Thailand but it too is dropped due to a combination of low demand and ever-increasing prices.

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To be clear, the discontinuation is limited only to kei minicar-centric Japan, where high parking charges, tight streets and parking, make large cars with no sliding doors unnecessarily difficult to use.

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USA's HR-V will replace the CR-V in Japan

In place of the CR-V, Honda will soon launch a larger USA-market Honda HR-V there. It’s a bit confusing to a casual observer but it’s quite simple.

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Although sharing the same name, USA's HR-V is not related to ours 

The US market HR-V is very different model from our local HR-V (sold in Japan as the Vezel), although both share the same name. The US market HR-V is larger than the Vezel (our HR-V), but smaller than the CR-V, thus hitting the right sweet spot CR-Vs of earlier generations used to occupy.

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Our local HR-V is sold in Japan as the Vezel

As for the Accord, the gap in the product line-up won’t be filled, as there is simply no demand for such cars in Japan anymore.

Hans

Head of Content

Over 15 years of experience in automotive, from product planning, to market research, to print and digital media. Garages a 6-cylinder manual RWD but buses to work.

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