Honda Set For September Plate Change

This year’s already buoyant new car market is about to be further stimulated by the introduction of the 52 Series number plate. Experts are predicting that British car sales will easily top 400,000 during September, or about five times the number sold in the preceding month of August.

A greater than ever number will be Hondas. The Japanese manufacturer is currently enjoying its best ever year in Britain, having sold more than 40,000 cars during the first half of 2002 – that’s more than the company sold during the whole of 1994.

Some of the company’s recent success can be put down to the Honda Jazz. With its cute looks, class beating space and miserly fuel efficiency, this multi award winning supermini has rewritten the small car rule book. From next month (August), two of the three Jazz models are available with Honda’s exciting new CVT-7 transmission, while there’s a more diverse selection of body colours available for those who want to make their Jazz just that little bit more individual.

The new Civic continues to be the people’s favourite, with the model accounting for one in two Hondas sold. The 5 door ranks fifth in the compact family class – and is even more popular among private retail customers. Sales of the Civic 3 door, meanwhile, run second only to the Ford Focus, with the racy Type-R model accounting for one in three of the 3 door model’s sales. Further interest in the Swindon-built Civics was generated earlier this year by the debut of state-of-the-art diesel versions, more affordable 1.4 E entry-level models, as well as an interior cosmetic update.

An all new Accord may be on the horizon with the model making its debut at the September Paris show. But with sales not due to start until next spring, there remains considerable interest and demand for the current model. Recent equipment upgrades and a price realignment have kept the Accord more than competitive against newer offerings. It’s a little known fact for example that sales of the 4 door Accord have been keeping pace with those of 4 door Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra petrol engine models….

With 8000 units sold in the first half of the year, Honda’s HR-V and CR-V models are a remarkable success story – the latter is now the top-selling petrol SUV in the country. The two models very much complement each other, with the "Joy Machine" offering a funky blend of style and entertainment plus the choice of three and five door body styles - and the new British-built CR-V offering a more mature mix of accommodation and practicality. Both models come with impressive specifications which include air conditioning and anti-lock brakes, as well as Honda’s "on demand" Dual Pump 4WD system.

And while on the subject of lifestyle / leisure vehicles, let’s not forget one of Honda’s best kept secrets, the Stream! Launched last year, this "alternative estate" has quickly expanded into a range of three models; all are very well equipped, offering great driving dynamics, considerable refinement and 7 seat capability. The 2.0 i-VTEC SE Sport, in particular, is the veritable "GTi" of the people carrier class.

Sports models have always featured prominently in the Honda line up – and they continue to perform well, both on the road and in the sales charts! Buoyed by the introduction of the 2002 model – as well as the hardtop GT – sales of Honda S2000 have almost trebled by comparison with the first half of 2001, and the super sports Honda is hot on the heels of the Lotus Elise and Audi TT roadster.

Other sporty models to consider within the Honda range include the practical and refined Civic Coupe, the clean and green Insight petrol /electric hybrid, and the flagship of them all, the Honda NSX supercar. The last mentioned is all the better for its recent facelift and handling improvements – and a £10,000 price cut!

In short, Honda’s 2002 car range really does offer something for everyone!

Published 26 July 2002 Melanie Carter
 

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