Honda HR-V Debut – 2014 LA Auto Show Remarks

2016 HRV RemarksJohn Mendel, Executive Vice President, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Honda Division

 

John Mendel:

Good morning everyone and thanks for joining us.

We have a lot of great news to share with you today. I know you’re all here to witness the arrival of an all-new Honda crossover that will strengthen our light truck offerings, but before we get to that, we have some other important news we’d like to share.

It’s been a banner year for the industry, and an exceptionally strong year for Honda. The video you just saw highlights our strength in light trucks with the 2015 CR-V picking up Motor Trend’s Sport Utility of the Year award just last month. We’ve also picked up some valuable hardware from some influential industry players like KBB, ALG and Edmunds.

Today, Automobile Magazine named the all-new Honda Fit to its list of ALL STARS. And, as we speak, Car and Driver magazine is announcing its list of the 10 Best cars in America, which for a record-breaking 29th time includes the Honda Accord. It’s all exciting news for the Honda brand.

And, we’re in contention for even more accolades before the year is out, with Fit making the list for North American Car of the Year. We are constantly looking forward in an effort to continue this type of momentum, strengthen our lineup and create new value for the next generation of customers.

And speaking of next generation, yesterday Google released its first Android Auto Developer Kit. Big news!

But what you might have missed is that Honda simultaneously launched a developer support program: Honda Developer Studio. This is both an online portal and a physical garage space in Silicon Valley, where developers work seamlessly with Honda R&D staff to integrate their apps with our vehicles, and be road-ready much more quickly.

You’ll see Android Auto coming to several Honda products next year with a stream of new and unique apps to follow. Key members of the Honda Silicon Valley Lab are here and available to share more details with you after the press conference.

Now, continuing on our theme, you also may have seen some news about our Next Generation Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept, which was unveiled in Japan just a few days ago. And we will debut this vehicle in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This new concept builds upon Honda’s real-world, on-the-road customer experience, gained through a decade of leadership in fuel cell development.

In support of this concept and the future of fuel cell vehicles, we are taking bold steps in the realm of hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Today, Honda is joining forces with First Element Fuel to provide $13.8 million in funding to further
expand and accelerate a network of public hydrogen refueling stations in California. This commitment adds considerable momentum to the future of fuel cell vehicles. And as we move closer to our own launch in 2016, we look forward to sharing more details on the next-generation Honda fuel cell car.

So, we have a lot of news to share, but today, the star of the show is the debut of an all-new compact crossover that further advances our light truck lineup. And here to tell you about it, is the senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division, Jeff Conrad.

 

Jeff Conrad:

Thank you, John, and hello everyone!

As you can see, we remain steadfast and focused on the future in many, many areas. But we also have an incredible lineup right now, with a string of back-to-back strong sales years.

Looking at 2014, we’re on track for an all-time sales record. And, as always, we’ve done that without deviating from our unique focus on retail sales to individual buyers, sold one customer and one car at a time.

Leading the way is the Honda Accord, on track to become the best-selling car in America with individual car buyers for the second straight year. But it’s not only Accord. With great packaging, fuel economy, fun-to-drive performance and safety, four of our core models are once again on track to be the top retail-selling models in their respective segments.

With Civic and CR-V also on track to be the outright best-selling models in their classes, beating all comers, even those relying on high-volume fleet sales.
And CR-V will extend its lead as the outright best-selling SUV in America for not just the last year or two, but the past decade. Ten years, folks!

And together, the Accord, Civic and CR-V are, again, on their way to accounting for total retail sales of over one million units for a second straight year.
If you set aside full-size pickups, this is a feat completely unprecedented in our industry.

And we also are seeing strong momentum from our all-new third-generation Fit, which has turned in some impressive performances in the past two months, up 66 percent in September and 83 percent in October.

One of Fit’s main strengths perhaps its greatest competitive advantage, is its incredibly spacious and versatile interior, made possible by its unique center-mounted fuel tank layout and versatile second row “Magic Seat.”

Now, we’re leveraging that same expertise in the U.S. production version of the all-new HR-V crossover we’re unveiling today.

Like the Fit, the new HR-V will be the true benchmark vehicle in a new and growing segment and a strong volume performer in our lineup. But HR-V isn’t just a great new product. Along with the just-launched CR-V, the HR-V heralds our step-by-step effort to grow the Honda light truck lineup.

It started with the freshened CR-V, which has undergone a major makeover for the 2015 model year, a mid-cycle refresh so significant that we earned the Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year title as John mentioned earlier.

Coming next year, will be the all-new Honda Pilot SUV that will redefine what is possible with an 8-passenger mid-size SUV. Further ahead, a completely reengineered Ridgeline pickup is in the works. And beyond that is the inevitable full design change for the Odyssey minivan.

This strong product cadence plays a major role in our future competitiveness and growth. It also creates a clear hierarchy for our SUV lineup. After all, we already have an outstanding hierarchy with our core passenger car lineup, from Fit to Civic to Accord.

Today, we are excited to introduce an all-new crossover that will complete an incredible and unbeatable lineup of SUVs. The gateway to CR-V and to Pilot will now begin with a versatile and dynamic all-new Honda vehicle.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2016 Honda HR-V!

Here it is, the sleek, fun, fuel-efficient and extraordinarily flexible 2016 Honda HR-V crossover!

It’s everything a small crossover should be with the dynamic sculpting and vibrant character lines of a sporty coupe, anchored in the confident, capable stance of an SUV. This efficient, fun-to-drive package is perfect for active lifestyle customers who need a capable vehicle that can meet the demands of daily driving, while providing the flexibility for weekend fun in the city, the country, the mountains or wherever their imagination leads them.

HR-V’s dynamic styling wraps around one of the largest and most versatile cabins in its class, all courtesy of its space-efficient platform and reconfigurable Honda Magic seats.

Need to haul a bike or maybe a dog crate? HR-V’s got you covered with more than 58 cubic feet of cargo space in Utility Mode. Two buddies and a pair of longboards? No problem in Long-Mode. Fichus tree for the living room?
I’d skip it. But, if you’re determined, HR-V has Tall-Mode to get that job done.
The HR-V is a virtual Swiss Army Knife of capability, efficiency and versatility.

Speaking of efficiency, the HR-V crossover offers the kind of fun-to-drive spirit you can only get with a Honda, along with a 1.8-liter, 138-horsepower VTEC engine providing lively, direct and immediate response, whether mated to a sporty Honda CVT with “G-design shift” technology, or a slick-shifting 6-speed manual.

An available Real Time all-wheel-drive system also provides customers with an extra measure of all-weather traction and control for off road adventure.

The HR-V crossover also is designed to earn top collision safety ratings. And offers standard safety and driver-assistive features unmatched by any other vehicle in this rapidly growing class, including the availability of the popular Honda LaneWatch technology.

HR-V will not be out done when it comes to comfort and convenience, with a host of standard features not found anywhere else in this class. But the fun doesn’t end there.

For customers who want even more, our Display Audio 7-inch touchscreen allows you to swipe, tap and pinch your way to the features and settings you desire, while Smart Entry with: Push Button Start, XM radio, Honda HD Digital Traffic and radio, Heated front seats, embedded GPS- Navigation, Paddle shifters and leather trim, all available features.

So, the all new HR-V crossover will deliver strong value for money. It’s the complete package, benefitting from the best Honda has to offer: our packaging expertise, our innovative powertrains, our leading safety technology and, above all, Honda quality.

Finally, like every core model in the Honda lineup, HR-V will be built exclusively in North America. So, now, 100 percent of Fit, Civic, Accord, HR-V, CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey come from one of our 8 plants in North America. This, without a doubt, strengthens our ability to meet customer demand with great speed and efficiency.

The HR-V crossover is an incredibly compelling, sporty and value-packed new member of the Honda family. We’re confident that our Honda customers are going to love it. It’s unlike anything else on the market today, and more than just the new gateway to our SUV lineup, we think it will introduce a new generation of customers to the Honda brand.

Stay tuned for more information and pricing on the all-new HR-V as we get closer to its on sale date this spring. It’s been a big news day for Honda, and we thank you for being part of it.

Now, I’d like to invite you all up on to the stage to get a closer look at the new Honda HR-V crossover.

Thank you all!

News Reporter