Will Honda Launch A Sub-4 Meter SUV for Additional Markets?

Honda needs to sell the WR-V in Japan

Basically, every car maker has an exclusive lineup and specifications depending on that country or region. Designs, powertrains, and underpinnings are also tweaked to match the needs of those respective markets. The aforementioned WR-V is smaller than 4 meters in length, making it a great competitor to the Toyota Raize in the Japanese market.

The WR-V was launched in 2017 based on market needs in South America and is based on the Honda Jazz. For the exterior, the front end has been drastically changed, and the fender area, roof, and bumper have been given an SUV styling. To make driving on roads easier, the minimum ground clearance has also been raised.

Having a body size of 157.4 in. long, 68.7 in. wide, and 62.9 in. tall, the overall size is close to that of the Toyota Raize. The WR-V is powered by a 1.5-liter inline-4 Flex Fuel engine mated with a CVT, which means the car can run on both gasoline and ethanol.

The Toyota Raize
The Toyota Raize

On the other hand, Toyota’s Raize was launched in November 2019 as a rebadged model to the Daihatsu Rocky. In 2020, the car became the best-selling SUV in Japan with recording 126,038 units, beating that of Honda’s Vezel in 2019 with 55,886 units.

Many dealers including the aforementioned Honda dealers have expressed their desire to introduce a small SUV such as the WR-V in Japan.

“The previous Vezel continued to perform well due to the recent SUV trend and the current model also received many reservations before the official launch, which reminded us all the craze that the previous generation brought us. However, Honda has only two models, the Vezel and the CR-V, and is unable to meet the detailed needs of SUVs like other companies.”

“Whenever Honda’s overseas models are featured in the news, we get inquiries about those models, and the WR-V, in particular, seems to attract a lot of interest from customers since it is the same size as Toyota’s Raize.”

Recently, Honda tends to launch models in North America and other markets first, and then launch them in the Japanese market about 1 to 3 years later. The WR-V was launched in 2017 in South America, so there was a possibility that it would be launched around 2020. A Honda official explains whether they are planning to launch the SUV also in Japan.

“Bringing an overseas model to Japan would not be easy since there are various challenges to solve. Also, the position below the Vezel can be covered by the Fit Crosstar, which makes it the WR-V and BR-V not necessary in Japan.”

※ ※ ※

So it seems that the WR-V will not likely be launched in Japan, but it is true that there are certain demands for these body types. Honda has registered a trademark for the upcoming “ZR-V” rumored to be launched in the Asian market. Depending on the future trends in Japan, there seems to be no denying the possibility of a smaller SUV than the Vezel.


Honda WR-V meets the needs of the South American market