Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 16

16
* MARCH 2024
For Honda, the new Prologue is exactly that
The new EV is the
result of an alliance
with General Motors,
but Honda says its
'own products' are in
the pipeline for 2026
By DAVID KENNEDY
TORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
HONDA CANADA'S FIRST
battery-electric vehicle for its
home market will go on sale
in British Columbia, Quebec
and Ontario
as the automaker
takes
an initial step
toward reworking
its lineup
to comply with
increasingly
stringent federal
and provincial
zero-emission-vehicle
(ZEV)
mandates.
Mori:
Regardless
of
production
issues with
But while the
2024 Prologue
has a familiar
Honda badge -
and the interior
has the look
and feel of the
similarly sized
Honda Passport
- the new midsize
crossover
is anything but
a conventional
Honda.
battery
modules,
General
Motors has
committed
to supplying
Honda.
" Under our
contract and
licensing, we
have signed
for a certain
amount of
volume. "
PHOTO: HONDA
The Prologue is being be built
by General Motors in Mexico
and underpinned by the automaker's
Ultium EV architecture.
The alliance will allow Honda
to get a new EV into the market
before its internal lineup of battery
electrics are scheduled to
arrive in 2026.
And unlike other Honda
nameplates available across
Canada, the Prologue will be
offered in three provinces only,
at least for the first two model
years.
" The other provinces, we are
not ... prioritizing today based
on the demand and our own supply, "
said Hayato Mori, Honda
Canada's assistant vice-president
of business development and customer
engagement.
Provincial regulations in B.C.
and Quebec that require automakers
sell an increasing percentage
of ZEVs annually were
another factor in the decision to
focus sales, Mori said. Ontario
has no such requirements, but as
Canada's largest market, there is
considerable EV demand, he said.
DEALERS PLUG AWAY
About 160 dealers in the three
provinces are prepared to sell the
Prologue. This required the purchase
of charging stations, higher-capacity
hoists and forklifts for
handling the Prologue's weighty
85-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
For the rest of the country,
where EV demand has yet to
pick up, dealers have been able
to delay these investments until
2026, Mori said.
" When we come out with our
Honda is remaining flexible on
powertrains. " We can go any
way. It all depends on where
the market is going, " said
Hayato Mori, Honda Canada's
assistant vice-president of
business development and
customer engagement.
PHOTO: HONDA
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tres, Jordan Cooley said. The
nearest is Brandon, about 150
kilometres south.
" We also mention [to customers]
our service. If you buy
from us, we're here to look after
you. "
The dealership stays in touch
with customers through regular
phone calls and, quite
often, encounters at community
events, he said. The dealership
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or events each year.
" Community involvement is
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online, train and learn, the better we'll be. "
" When you're in a small
setting, they know you really
well, " Cooley said. " Everyone is
like a friend. "
The dealership has 52
employees, including four sales
consultants.
" Our staff retention is incredible. "
Three have been there for
more than 40 years, and average
tenure is 11.8 years.
" The biggest thing that
breeds our success is our
team, " he said.
SC 13120
Long tenure ensures that
employees not only have extensive
product knowledge but
also know customers on a
first-name basis, he said.
FOCUS ON TRAINING
Dean Cooley said the dealership
has achieved high
employee retention through
" clear and consistent reviews "
of performance and structured
training plans, both when the
employees join the team and
throughout their careers.
To keep staff engaged, the
dealership holds weekly sales
training sessions and has
brought in outside trainers to
help build skills in finance and
insurance service and the collision
centre.
Ultimately, the dealership
has a simple formula for success.
" Our
philosophy on business
ethics is simple: Do what
is right. At our dealership, we
talk about treating every customer
as though they were
your grandmother, " he said.
Dean Cooley said he is
not against adopting artificial
intelligence technology
at some point to assist in
sales, but he prefers to follow
time-tested tactics.
" I am not a guy that tries
to reinvent the car business. I
don't think reinventing it all
the time is healthy. " - ANC
company's greenhouse-gas reduction
goals.
Honda anticipates skipping
over PHEVs to go directly to EVs,
but that isn't set in stone, Mori
said.
" We can go any way. It all
depends on where the market is
going. "
The 2024 Prologue looks like a Honda, but General Motors is
building the crossover in Mexico using Ultium EV architecture
until Honda can deliver a lineup of EVs with its own drivetrain
technology. PHOTO: HONDA
own products, we're going to have
to ready all of the dealerships, " he
said. " Because at a certain point,
we're going to have to meet federal
mandates. "
Ottawa in December finalized
regulations requiring that ZEVs
make up 20 per cent of new-vehicle
sales in 2026, steadily increasing
year over year to 60 per cent
in 2030 and 100 per cent in 2035.
The B.C. and Quebec targets are
more aggressive.
In recent years, Honda has
been transitioning its lineup to
hybrids, with the hybrid version
of the CR-V crossover first rolling
off the line at the automaker's
Alliston, Ont., campus in 2022.
The Civic Hybrid is set to follow
in spring.
But Honda's hybrids, which
are not plug-in hybrids (PHEVs),
do not qualify as ZEVs under federal
regulations. At launch, the
Prologue will be the brand's only
model sold in Canada that is considered
a ZEV.
BEING 'LATE' WAS THE PLAN
Although Honda appears to be
late to the EV game, Mori said
the company has been timing the
Prologue's launch to match the
Honda sold the Clarity PHEV
in Canada from 2017 until 2021
and is also developing fuel-cell
vehicles, equipping the company
with a range of technology
options to match the evolving car
market, Mori said.
Through its partnership
with GM, Honda will produce
about 70,000 Prologues for North
America annually. The number
of vehicles allocated for Canada
hasn't been disclosed.
While GM was forced to slow
its own EV output because of a
shortage of Ultium battery modules
in 2023, Prologue production
shouldn't be affected, Mori said.
" Under our contract and licensing,
we have signed for a certain
amount of volume, so that will
ensure they will provide us that
many, " Mori said.
The Honda-GM partnership
also includes production of the
Acura ZDX crossover.
The Prologue starts at $61,990
including $2,000 delivery, and
qualifies for federal and provincial
ZEV rebates.
All three trim levels offered
in Canada are all-wheel drive
with two motors. Driving range
is 452 kilometres on a full charge,
according to range estimates
by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. - ANC
https://www.joeverde.com/Video-Joe-Verde-Automotive-News-4.html?sc=13120

Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 26
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 27
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 28
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