The third largest Japanese automaker has managed to throw away its competition out the window during the first two weeks of having its smallest sport utility model – the HR-V – on sale in the United States.
In just two weeks and without even having in place an advertising campaign, Honda has already delivered 6,381 of its new HR-V crossover – triple the amount any other rival ahs managed during its first month in the segment. The company is now already mulling a series of options as the better than expected demand might strain its chain of delivery. The Japanese automaker already has a top performer – the larger, compact CR-V, which is the top-selling sport utility vehicle in the U.S. through May, as consumers flock to the segment to take advantage of the cheaper gasoline, lifting the segment to its brightest pace in a decade. The HR-V is also acting as an insurance policy – a sibling to the Fit subcompact – Honda believes the smaller model would be free of the expected slowdown when pump prices start rising again in the future.
“This is a small crossover that people will look at as the ultimate hedge against everything,” comments John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda’s U.S. sales unit. The Japanese company also needs a home run – the tally so far this year indicated Honda might end up losing market share in the US for a third consecutive year, for the worst performance over the past ten years. The model was not free of issues either – its US introduction was delayed to allow for time to address the problems seen with the Vezel – the model’s name in Japan.