Price cuts and extra equipment in both the baby Jazz and family-sized Accord have nearly tripled recent showroom results for the Japanese brands, which had been struggling for sales through the early months of 2011.
"It's definitely working. We're definitely back on shopping lists," says Lindsay Smalley, senior director of Honda Australia, at the opening of the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne. "Sales of the Jazz have really jumped. They've nearly tripled."
Honda is also being helped by a return to normal production numbers in Japan as the company finally gets back to full capacity after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March. Smalley says Honda is well placed for buyers, with no waiting lists in Australia. It's a contrast to Toyota, which is still struggling with supplies of popular models including the Corolla and HiLux. Brand T usually sells more than 20,000 cars each June but its 2011 result was off by more than 8000 vehicles because of short supplies.
At Honda, Smalley says the new value-added strategy is working and tapping into the latest customer demand for the right prices. He says the tripling of Accord VTi figures is directly linked to the recent strategy to improve specification and "adjust" pricing. The starting price of the VTi came down by more than $4000, from $32,490 to $28,199, in a move that also saw close to $2000 slashed from the price of the Accord Euro.
At the bottom end, the Jazz is now prices from $14,990 - a $2000 cut - while the car has a five-star ANCAP crash rating, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. "We've tried a lot of things with product value but at the end of the day sticker price is a real driver for our customers," Smalley says.