Two of Honda's biggest models in the Philippine market, it appears, have been discontinued for local sale.
Our contact in Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) has confirmed that they have stopped offering two models. One is their flagship saloon: the Honda Legend hybrid. The other is their larger SUV: the Honda Pilot.
The Legend, while a showcase of the very best of Honda's creature comforts and technologies like their hybrid powertrains and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, was never expected to sell in great numbers given its price tag of just under PhP 4.4 million. Ceasing to offer the Legend was expected, unless there were firm indent orders from determined customers.
But axing the big Pilot is the surprise, given our market's love for SUVs; especially a big, American-style 8-seater model with the Honda badge and a price tag of just under 3.4 million.
Our source didn't give any reasons for the axing of the two models, especially since both of these high-end models from Honda didn't have any apparent increases in price when the new excise tax came into effect in January.
The likely reason for HCPI to stop selling the two models, particularly the Pilot, could be the exchange rate. When Honda launched the Pilot in February 2016, the USD to PHP rate was hovering at the 47.5 mark. Since then, the Peso has weakened against the Dollar, resulting in today's exchange rates at just over 54 pesos per dollar, representing about a 13.7% increase.
The Pilot is manufactured in Alabama by the American Honda Motor Company. It stands to reason that a weakening Philippine peso would take a significant portion of the profits, making them unviable for Honda Cars Philippines to continue acquiring units from American Honda and offer them to the market.
The axing of the two models makes the Odyssey and the Accord (with an all-new model coming soon) as the most premium Honda automobiles you can buy in the Philippines from official dealers.
It is likely that the Pilot's position as a three-row SUV was taken over by the new CR-V with its seven seater configuration as well as an efficient diesel engine. Toss in the current problems brought about by high fuel prices (not a good thing for the big, 3.5L gasoline V6 in the Pilot) and Honda's decision to stop offering Pilot becomes more logical, even if they don't tell us.