Honda Pilot (Honda)
Sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole story.
2022 recorded an all-time negative record in Honda sales by the official importer, the Meir company.
For the first time since the launch in Israel in 1990, Meir delivered only 407 cars of the Japanese manufacturer.
While the Doge division in Meir brought Honda to an all-time record in Israel, with 4,000 vehicles and for the first time second place in the market after Sun Yang and before Yamaha, in the car market Honda was overtaken by regular imports even by Fiat. Prominent showrooms were converted to sales of Volvo and Honda two-wheelers (Herzliya) and the new Chinese brand Link & Co (Tel Aviv).
According to the data of the Ministry of Transport, even with parallel imports, more Honda cars were sold here last year than by the official importer, 470 units, mainly of the Honda City, a family that is manufactured in India and intended for developing countries, without active safety systems For example, not exactly a model that supports the advanced technological image that the manufacturer is careful to cultivate, but good enough for India, Vietnam and Brazil, where it is manufactured.
The first advertisement for the Civic, from the launch in 1990 (Photo: Honda)
Honda was the first Japanese manufacturer to come to us as part of the rising wave of the 90s, and it preceded Mitsubishi, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan here.
In the twilight of the Arab boycott, imports from the USA began, in the years when Honda starred on the Formula 1 tracks, under the slogan "Honda ignites the imagination". But it soon expanded to models from Japan, and later from Great Britain and Turkey. Honda won the local status of the highest quality popular Japanese brand, One that competes with Volkswagen, not Mazda.
But since 2015, Honda's sales in Israel have begun to plunge, at the same time as the growing crisis of the company's European division. Although Honda was one of the first to launch hybrid cars, with the first-generation Insight, and later with hybrid models of the Civic and Jazz, but then Abandoned the field precisely when it finally caught on and Toyota along with Hyundai and Kia celebrated in sales.
Honda also missed out on the streetcar market despite launching the spectacular little e-retro.
In recent years, it closed its factories in Great Britain and Turkey and dramatically reduced its presence in Europe and the production quantities for the continent, continuing to base itself on its strong markets in the East and the USA. Of the new Civic, for example, which will arrive in the coming weeks, less than 500 cars were allocated to Israel this year.
Models Civic, Accord and the large American minivan Odyssey began to appear in Israel as parallel imports, all with American standards, but the manufacturer continued to limit the local dealership to importing models with European standards only. Then he changed his mind.
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3,500 cc, 289 hp.
Will compete with Hyundai Placid and Jeep Grand Cherokee L (Photo: Honda)
The driver's environment of the Pilot (photo: Honda)
A visit by a senior delegation of the manufacturer to Israel a few months ago paved the way for the change, and for receiving the first approval in years for the regular import of Honda from the USA. Although for the time being there is only one model, with limited sales due to the expected price tag, it is the first Swallow that can lead To
extend the move.
The Honda Pilot is a large crossover, developed for the American market and manufactured in Lincoln, Alabama. Its new and fourth generation launched at the end of last year has 7-8 seats, with the six-cylinder, 3,500 cc gasoline engine power increased to 289 hp , and the automatic transmission now has 10 gears. The drive is double.
The design is tougher, there is an "off-road" version called Trail Sport, but all of them received compliments from the American automotive press for their capabilities beyond the asphalt. The length reaches 5.07 meters, the wheelbase 2.89 meters , and is one of the last vehicles even in the US without a turbocharger, let alone a hybrid unit, even a mild one.
In the US, the Pilot competes with the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Placid and Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which suggests that its local price tag will be over NIS 300,000.
But this is an opening for the import of other Honda models with American standards, the most interesting of which will be launched in 2024: the Prologue The electric, a new crossover that is based on the new platform of General Motors, which will be used by the new Chevrolet Blazer EV. The Prologue is intended to shorten the way for Honda to the electric world, until it finishes developing its own platform, and will also be built at the GM plant in Mexico, and is intended for marketing only in North America.
Honda Prologue Electric.
A twin model to the new Chevrolet Blazer, and will be produced alongside it in Mexico (Photo: Honda)