After last month’s assurances from Honda dealer council chairman David Cox that the focus in Honda showrooms was on ‘business as usual’, never mind what is happening in the wider world between the UK and the EU, I thought I’d take a look at consumer appetite for the HR-V.
I called on Alex Rose, head of trading at new car buying website Carwow, to discover the number of HR-Vs configured by buyers compared with its competitors, the number of enquiries compared with configurations and the proportion of those that went on to buy.
Popularity-wise, the HR-V is something of a niche player, said Rose.
“It attracts around 50% more configurations than, for example, a Mitsubishi ASX, and is comparable in popularity to a Mazda CX-5, CX-3 or Toyota RAV4.
“However, models such as the Suzuki Vitara, Renault Kadjar, Audi Q3 and Ford Kuga receive almost double the number of configurations.” The ‘big names’ (Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, and to a lesser extent the Hyundai Tucson) attract up to six times as many configurations as the HR-V.
The HR-V enquiry rate is a little below average.
While this is affected by how far a potential buyer has to travel in order to visit a dealer, and therefore varies by brand, even taking this into account, the HR-V sees a lower likelihood of enquiry.
While it’s comparable to models such as the Kadjar, ASX, Sportage and Tucson (and a little ahead of the Vitara), a number of others are about 20% more likely to be enquired about, including Kuga, RAV4, CX-3 and even its Honda stablemate, the CR-V.
“This will be driven by a range of factors, not least of which will be the attractiveness of a particular brand’s finance,” said Rose.
When looking at overall conversion from configuration to sale, HR-V is a “middle-order player”. It’s significantly more likely to result in a purchase than Vitara, Kadjar or Ford Edge, and comparable to CX-3, CX-5, Kuga, Tucson and Q3, Rose concluded.
Sportage, CR-V and, above all, RAV4, are most likely to be bought, said Rose.
“Clearly, finance will play a part in closing the sale (as well as dealer involvement in lead management) so the fact that the CR-V scores strongly would suggest the overall package offered by Honda is competitive, albeit that we’re unable to split finance from the overall dealer experience in understanding what determines a sale,” he said.