Honda Australia follows the Kiwi agency lead
Across the ditch, Honda has celebrated its 50-year anniversary by following in the footsteps of Honda New Zealand, adopting an ‘agency’ sales model. All stock will be owned by the brand itself rather than by dealers, and a fixed-priced no-haggle model is anticipated to stave off falling sales.
As a result, many of the current dealer outlets that sell and service Hondas will go by the wayside over the ensuing year, though how many are left is not yet clear.
Dealers will become known as agents and will by paid by Honda to make new car transactions with customers.
Because all vehicles will henceforth be owned by Honda Australia, new cars will be delivered to customers after the transaction is completed.
Without having to pay dealer volume incentives Honda should be able to make its driveaway pricing more competitive.
As part of the change, Honda has rationalised its line-up and has announced that the next-generation Jazz supermini will not be available in Australia, exiting like the City sedan did last year.
In 2019 Honda Australia sold just under 44,000 vehicles, a 14 per cent drop and putting it ninth in the top ten list.
CR-V was its best seller, with almost 14,000 moved, followed by HR-V on nearly 12,000 and Civic third on 10,500.
The newly refreshed Accord sedan will remain on sale, as will Civic Type R and the Odyssey MPV.
Expectations are for a 2021 sales total of around 20,000 vehicles once the new system is bedded in.
Honda Australia said the decision to change to the agency sales model was made to ensure a stronger business long term - the market overall has endured 23 consecutive months of decline - and that the car buying process is more satisfying for its customers.
In an interview with Carsguide, Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins said “We...want to reward our loyal and highly valued customer base with a more relational and less transactional experience.”
He added that the new business model offers customers good value, strong resale and a seamless ownership experience.