HONDA dealers are being given a great opportunity to attract new customers to the brand with the fourth generation of the company’s best-selling soft-roader, the CR-V.
That’s the message to the network from the company’s head of UK marketing, Martin Moll.
New CR-V models will be arriving in showrooms up and down the country this autumn.
And the advent of a front-wheel-drive petrol version of the car, as an entry-level model priced in the region of £21,000, will mean more potential buyers will be able to afford one.
Moll told Car Dealer: ‘The new CR-V is extremely important for the dealer network in the UK for a variety of reasons.
‘We do well in retail and we’re establishing ourselves through corporate as well. It’s a great gateway for the dealers. It already has a parc of 170,000-odd people so dealers have a huge opportunity to go back to existing customers with a fresh proposition.
‘Also, because it’s a bigger and more expensive vehicle, there’s more margin in it and it holds its residuals extremely well. We have the benefit of not having to discount the car heavily so it’s incredibly important for profitability.
‘It’s got a good sales history, dealers know how to sell it, they know the type of customers they’re dealing with and with the arrival of the two-wheel drive, they have got a wider price point basis. We’re certainly looking to draw in conquest customers.’
The CR-V has been a huge success for Honda since it was first launched in 1995, continuing to do well in a sector that’s become more and more crowded over the years.
Latest versions of the Swindon-built car see the introduction of LED daytime running lights, improved aerodynamics and a drop of 12 per cent in CO2 emissions. More than five million are on the road in 160 countries worldwide. And Honda has high hopes of increasing the UK figure. Moll told us: ‘The aspiration is 250,000.’
Moll paid tribute to the dealer network for toughing out the recession and doing their best to keep customers happy.
Very strong network
‘We’ve got some fantastic dealers,’ he told us. ‘When it comes to customer service, they are exceptional. Obviously it’s important that the cars are of good quality but the consumer relationships that dealers have are brilliant.
‘It’s a very strong network. We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder in what have been challenging times over the last two to three years. That’s testament to both their brand and ours. Now we can see signs of their increasing ability to trade well, and that includes used as well as new cars.’