Honda will likely re-enter hybrid market too
Last year, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) introduced two all-new crossovers – the HR-V that was launched in April and the 7-seater BR-V in the latter part of 2022. Both feature the Honda Sensing advanced driver assist system, which makes the safety suite more accessible to a wider range of consumers.
In 2023, HCPI is ramping up its new model introduction. From two launches in 2022, we got hold of information that they will be launching three new models this year. However, they were also quick to rule out what could have been a strong contender on a very popular segment in the country – the WR-V.
According to a Honda executive, the automaker is offering the WR-V to right-hand-drive markets for now, despite having its production in Indonesia where the BR-V and Brio are being sourced. Perhaps the key takeaway here is the word “for now”. With the WR-V crossed out for 2023, what else could we expect from Honda this year?
Our source did not disclose the names of the new models. Executives generally don't spill the beans no matter how hard we try to get them to, but we can make a few educated guesses.
There's a good chance the all-new Civic Type R would be the first one. After initially making its global debut, the FL5 made its way to the ASEAN region last October at the 2022 Vietnam Motor Show. Honda chose Vietnam as the first ASEAN country to get first dibs, beating Thailand and the rest of the ASEAN members.
With Vietnam being a left-hand-drive country similar to ours, there's reason to believe the Philippines could be next on Honda's list. Couple that with reports that several dealerships in the country are already accepting customer reservations for the new Civic Type R, it could be a strong possibility.
The second likely vehicle Honda will introduce this year is the all-new CR-V. Currently, the fifth generation we have in the country is nearing the end of its model cycle, despite having a mild model refresh in late 2020.
In addition, the sixth-generation model has been officially launched last year in the US, packing either a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo or a 2.0-liter dual-motor hybrid. Meanwhile, in the ASEAN region, a camouflaged version of the sixth-generation CR-V has already been spotted in Thailand undergoing testing. Since it hasn't been officially launched in the Land of Smiles where HCPI gets the CR-V, we may have to wait a little longer for it; at least by the mid or latter part of 2023.
With most car brands beginning to introduce electrified models in the country, Honda has yet to launch one in the Philippines. That all changes for 2023, as the third new Honda model will be a hybrid.
While we're not yet sure which one, there are three possible vehicles – the HR-V e:HEV, City e:HEV or the Civic e:HEV. All of these models are already being sold in Thailand, and either of the three will restart HCPI's electrification plans in the country.
Which other Honda models do you think will make it to the 2023 list? Let us know in the comments.