The New Honda CR-Z and the UK’s Auto Market

More than 10 years after having launched the first hybrid car to hit the United States’ mass market, Honda has sold over 800,000 of its hybrid vehicles worldwide. In fact, the manufacturer sold close to 200,000 of them just last year, suggesting a popularity boom of hybrid cars among the public. Honda now makes 7 hybrid models and sells them in some 50 countries, including the UK, but the latter is not exactly what one would call the Japanese firm’s most profitable market. Is there any chance that Honda’s 2013 sporty CR-Z hybrid will boost the firm’s hybrid sales in the Kingdom?

The numbers
The UK is not exactly the paradise of hybrid cars. In fact, Honda has only sold some 20,000 hybrid vehicles in the country over the years. This is a tremendous contrast with Japan, where Honda is based and where the proportion of new hybrid car registrations reached 45% of total registrations in December 2011. But it is not only hybrid cars that do not seem to get too much attention from the population of the UK; Honda, as a firm, is not even among the top 10 manufacturers for car sales in the country.

In fact, Honda came 14th with regards to 2011 car registrations, a two-place drop in comparison with the 2010 ranking. With that 14th place, Honda only got a 2.61% share of new registrations, down from 3.13% the year before. The current year is not finished yet, but if the downward trend continues, Honda could fall below competitors Land Rover and Skoda, two manufacturers whose shares of registrations are on an upward trend.

Can Honda break out in the year to come, or at the very least avoid ceding further ground on the UK’s automobile market? That remains unsure. However, with the nearby launching of the new 2013 Honda CR-Z, a sporty hybrid vehicle with great looks and features, maybe Honda can hope that its share of hybrid sales will increase and that it will somehow contribute to popularizing this kind of cars with the British.

The Honda CR-Z
Even if their names are quite similar, the Honda CR-V and the Honda CR-Z are two completely different vehicles. The latest Honda CR-Z, which will be launched in the UK in January 2013, is a sporty hybrid coupe that has been around for a couple of years now. The 2013 edition, however, arrives with more power than any of its predecessors. The introduction of a new Lithium-Ion battery pack definitely has contributed to the improvement of the car’s general performance, just like the integration of a new Plus Sport System, which is basically an on-demand electric boost that can be activated by using the “S+” button on the steering wheel.

What’s more, the 0.62 mph sprint time of the 2013 Honda CR-Z is 9 seconds, compared to last year’s model’s 9.7 seconds. All of this, however, does not mean worse fuel efficiency. In fact, even with the above improvements conferring the 2013 CR-Z better overall performance and greater-than-before horse power, fuel efficiency has been improved too, and so has the official CO2 emission rate, which went down by 1 gram per kilometre.

In a nutshell, with its 2013 CR-Z, Honda has found a way to enhance the environmentally advantageous aspects of owning a hybrid car while making efforts to improve the model’s overall performance. This should please both environmentally concerned drivers and those who like sporty cars with great looks. Now, the question is: will the CR-Z catch the attention of British consumers when it hits the UK’s auto market next month? Only time will tell.


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