One of the models that will be on Malaysian roads soon is Honda’s first Small Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), which is slated to launch in the third quarter of 2023.
Upon its arrival, Honda Malaysia will become the first Japanese mass market manufacturer to enter the Small SUV segment.
The model alluded to is widely believed to be the subcompact WR-V that will be rolled out to replace the 7-seat BR-V that has been discontinued.
The 5-seat WR-V, now in its second generation, is based on a shortened platform of the BR-V. Incidentally, the second-generation BR-V that is not coming to Malaysia shares the same platform as the latest City.
Honda Malaysia is betting that the new smaller model, positioned below the HR-V, would sell better than the BR-V. It is targeted at young professionals and families who enjoy travel and outdoor activities.
The WR-V is already on sale in Thailand and Indonesia.
Honda currently offers six models in Malaysia namely Accord, CR-V, Civic, HR-V, City and City Hatchback.
Honda Malaysia president & chief operating officer Sarly Adle Sarkum said the company would leverage on three key pillars of "Advanced Technology, Premium Offerings and Sporty Appeal" when introducing new models.
"The combination of these three key pillars will make the upcoming Honda models even more unique in the market and elevate their status in their respective segments," he said at a Honda media gathering on Friday.
Like Toyota, Honda is also taking a stepped approach to electrification with a goal to offer hybrids first before introducing battery electric vehicles.
"Honda believes that the hybrid technology is the right approach at this point of time, particularly in Malaysia," said Sarly.
"We want to ensure Malaysians’ needs are being fulfilled with the most practical and relevant technologies before fully adopting EVs.”
In ongoing efforts to improve aftersales support, Honda Malaysia would introduce so-called 2S (Service and Spare Parts) Pit Stop and promote its after-sales activities to meet rising demand from current and potential customers.
The company said it is also enhancing its Honda CONNECT system which includes Safety, Security and Convenience features.
Honda Malaysia will introduce Honda CONNECT in other models in addition to the City RS, City Hatchback RS, Civic RS, Civic e:HEV RS and HR-V e:HEV RS.
In addition, the HondaTouch platform would be upgraded to make it more convenient and accessible to customers.
Honda Malaysia said it is doing its best to fulfil all bookings and ensure timely delivery for the new models despite the global semiconductor shortage.
Honda Malaysia sold a total of 80,290 units last year, which was a 51% increase from the total sales in 2021.
The total sales represented 11.1% of the Total Industry Volume (TIV) in 2022. The company also retained its No.1 position in the Non-National Passenger Vehicle Segment for the ninth consecutive year.
For 2023, Honda Malaysia has set a sales target of 80,000 units with 12.3% market share.
Honda celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.