Does Honda Already Know The New CR-V Won't Be America's Best-Selling Crossover In 2017?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Only once in the last nine years, and not once since the Ford Escape scored a victory in 2011, has the Honda CR-V failed to top America’s SUV/crossover sales leaderboard.

At its current pace, 2016 will be the Honda CR-V’s fifth consecutive year as America’s best-selling utility vehicle. Better yet, there’s an all-new Honda CR-V arriving for the 2017 model year. (We’ll post a First Drive Review of that CR-V on November 30th. –Ed.)

But Honda has little intention of ramping up CR-V production growth in 2017 simply to match the Toyota RAV4’s rapid ascent.

Jeff Conrad, American Honda’s vice president for the Honda division, said the company will sell more CR-Vs next year than the roughly 360,000 CR-Vs American Honda will sell in 2016. However, “We won’t tap out at 400,000 yet or anytime in the real near future, probably, but we have expanded capacity,” says Conrad.

Wards reports that Toyota aims to sell 400,000 RAV4s in the United States in 2017.

Presently, 13 percent of the RAV4s sold in America are RAV4 Hybrids. Nissan is adding a hybrid offering to the 2017 Rogue. Mazda is promising a diesel engine in the CX-5 next year. But all 2017 Honda CR-Vs are fitted either with the carryover 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a higher-horsepower version of the Civic’s 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

A small lineup won’t be the reason Honda can’t once again grab the No.1 position in 2017. Rather, as the automaker shifts production around to build more HR-Vs in Mexico, chasing additional volume for the sake of matching the RAV4’s pace simply isn’t the priority.

That said, we asked Honda for clarification on the subject, and company spokesperson James Jenkins didn’t deny the possibility of ramping up production if need be.

“We have the flexibility to match the corporate need. Our strategy isn’t to chase the competitors. It’s to have consistent and steady growth,” Jenkins told TTAC, explaining that Jeff Conrad was simply stating current sales forecasts.

Perhaps Honda can make it six consecutive years as America’s most popular SUV.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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