By on November 22, 2016

2017 Honda CR-V/2016 Toyota RAV4 - Images: Toyota & Honda

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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20 Comments on “Does Honda Already Know The New CR-V Won’t Be America’s Best-Selling Crossover In 2017?...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    They both suck!

    Soul-less jumped up econobox appliances with anthracite plastic all over the interior!

  • avatar
    threeer

    And apparently over a half a million buyers embraced the suck last year alone. I didn’t buy either one, but am right there with the “soul-less appliances” in that I DD a ’14 Escape. Not my dream car, but it does what it needs to do for me (I guess the same can be said for those that bought the CRV or RAV4).

  • avatar
    seth1065

    That is the issue here , most folks do not care it is soulless , they want a car that starts and runs and gives them no issues, and the CRV and Rav4 do that, and there is a lot to say for that, you can dress up the CRV if you want , I assume the Rav4 as well to make it more upscale, everyone I know who has a CRV is on like their third one and someone in their family is on the third one. I would like to see Honda add a hybrid to match the Rav 4 but they have not had a ton of luck w hybrids. I also think the HVR will eat into CRV sales next year as production is ramped up.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Awesome! I get better follow-on if I pretend to be a car guy!

      Poppa got a brand new bag! *dee-da-dee-da-dee-a-dee!*

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “most folks do not care it is soulless”

      True.

      “Soul” used to be rationale for “temperamental” which was a was to excuse “unreliable”.

      That would mean a certain small Canidae driveway has a lot of soul.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Cars don’t come with souls from the factory anymore, It has to be added by the owner. I’m a car guy, and I’m on my 3rd CR-V (would have still had the 1st if doctors were less scared of taking the license away from 70+ year old people with Parkinsons)
    Firstly, you create memories with the family even in soulless econoboxes. Secondly it has a manual transmission (my 2nd didn’t, so I sold it) , which currently makes it better than what si available new most so called enthusiast brands. Third, there are upgrades available for them. My 1st had Koni dampers and H&R springs, and my current will get them too I guess. Decent wheels help a bit, extra sounddeadening is recommended in the 2nd gen, stereo is DIN so can be upgraded, and the European version has basically the same engine as a base RS-X, so there is aftermarket support for that too. People have even rebuilt the transmission to accept LSD and a sixt cog from a TSX for higway use. The wildest turbo’d version I’ve seen had 500 hp…
    As for Hondas market goals, It would be a dream to work for a company that could plan further than 3 months ahead…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like that.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      +1 on all points!

      Just guessing, but maybe Honda is leaving spare capacity for the Civic?

    • 0 avatar

      Also a car guy with a ’16 CRV EX-L AWD (and a ’03 RAV4L)…I love it! Not only does it haul the family around (and is great from driving halfway across the country), but it prefers to be driven hard.

      I know it’s not a sports car, mind you, but the more I push it, the better it responds. I really like it.

      Moreover…you’re spot on about building memories with the car. That’s the most important thing.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      @Zykotec: If your CR-V came with a manual transmission, then it can’t be any newer than 2006 (2nd gen), as that’s the last year they offered one. A CUV with side-swinging rear door, spare tire on the back and a manual transmission isn’t a “soulless appliance”. IMO, Honda gave the CR-V a soul-ectomy for 2007.

      That’s not to discredit your mods which sound really cool. If I didn’t have more than enough projects, swapping the 5-speed for a 6-speed stick sounds like fun. We own an ’06 with the manual trans, and are very happy with it. Probably wouldn’t replace it with a newer CR-V though.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        My current is 02 build, as was my first. I owned an ’07 for little over year, but even though I liked the look and added soundproofing it lacked too many of the olders practical sides that I had gotten used to, and it was an automatic.
        I live in Norway, and here the CR-V is still available with a manual, and a diesel. (the first 2.2 diesel was available in 2005)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Equinox/Terrain cousins sold 389K in 2015…big wup! That is half decade old design and not could counting kissing cousin SRX.

    So who is squeezing their fruit the hardest?

  • avatar
    Peter Voyd

    Equinox/Terrain cousins sold 389K in 2015…big wup! That is half decade old design and not could counting kissing cousin SRX.

    So who is squeezing their fruit the hardest?

    A significant proportion of Equinox/Terrain sales (as well as Escape) are fleet; there are some RAV4 in rental fleets as well. A sale is a sale, but the profit margins on fleet sales are likely lower.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    This has always been Honda’s strategy.

  • avatar
    Chris

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

    What about the fact that Honda reversed the plan to sell Canada-made CR-Vs to Europe to focus on meeting North American demand instead?

    http://canada.autonews.com/article/20161101/CANADA/161109989/honda-reverses-plan-to-sell-canada-made-cr-vs-to-europe

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I constantly find myself having a few V6 RAV-4s saved on kijiji.

    A CUV having 270 hp is the CUV for me. (if there is actually a CUV for me.)

    And having a sort of useful AWD system too.

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