Priced in the Supercar Stratosphere, the New Honda NSX Is Hilariously Uncommon in Australia
It’s early days for the second-generation Acura NSX, known in most global markets as the Honda NSX. After a decade-long hiatus, the Ohio-built NSX only returned in the summer of 2016.
Yet 577 copies of the NSX have been sold in America during the supercar’s first 14 months. In the much smaller and less supercar-friendly Canadian market, 82 copies of the Acura NSX have been sold since July 2016, including 29 in the last two months.
And in Australia? Down Under, sales of the [s]Acura[/s] Honda NSX have been less, shall we say, numerous. So far, Honda Australia has reported… carry the one, find the inverse sine, if c is equal to a+b… a grand total of two NSX sales.
Two. Dos. Zwei. Ni.
The reasons are obvious.
Honda Australia priced the NSX from AUD $420,000.
“Well sure,” you say, “but Aussie dollars are smaller.” And you’re right, an Australian dollar is worth less than an American dollar. But AUD $420,000 is still the equivalent of USD $332,000 for a car that’s priced at $157,800 in the United States.
“Well sure,” you say, “but you can’t just compare markets like that. Cars are priced differently in different parts of the world.” And you’d be right again, except that a number of cars that are known to be more expensive than the NSX in America are significantly less expensive than the NSX in Australia.
Take, for instance, the Audi R8 V10 Plus, which costs 24-percent more in the U.S. than the NSX, yet costs 7-percent less than the NSX in Australia. Surprise, surprise: the R8 V10 Plus is 20 times more popular than the Acura NSX so far this year, according to CarAdvice.
The Mercedes-AMG GT has generated 72 Australian sales in 2017, compared with just a single NSX sold so far this year. (One was sold in December 2016.) Australia’s Porsche stores have sold nearly 30 911 Turbos in 2017. McLaren has reported 60 total sales in Australia in 2017; 60 percent of those are 570S models priced at $379,000.
Priced somewhat more appropriately in Australia is the $299,000 Nissan GT-R Nismo. That’s equal to USD $237,000 for a car that’s priced at $176,685 in America. Nissan has reported 21 sales of the GT-R Nismo so far this year.
But by doubling the cost of the Honda NSX during its transfer from Marysville to Melbourne, demand for the car is essentially shut down. “Apart from what we’ve delivered, we currently have three other orders [for the NSX] in the pipeline,” Honda Australia’s Neil McDonald tells CarAdvice, “with deliveries likely later this year or next year, depending on the manufacturing slots at the factory in the U.S.”
Count’em. Five NSX sales by 2018 in a segment that produces 10 AMG GT sales per month.
“It wasn’t positioned, nor was it expected, to chase outright volume sales,” McDonald says.
That’s for sure. It was positioned as a Honda with a Ferrariesque price.
Honda Australia maintains a belief that the brand benefits from the NSX’s Australian import, by “raising the profile” and “telling the story of Honda” and evoking “memories of the original NSX.” All-time, Honda sold 280 first-gen NSXs in Australia.
With two sales of the new NSX under its belt and another three eventually, it’s going to take some time for the new NSX to live up to the old car. A price change might help, Honda Australia says, “We’ve been very happy with the response and interest in it.” Expectations must be managed, mate.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.
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That Aussie price lets you know everything about how Acura is a dead brand walking. In the US, the NSX has the same problem the LFA did... Too expensive for the brand to support it, meaning it becomes too rare to have any real halo effect. I've seen 1 in the Bay area, and this is an area where the McLaren dealership is booming, Ferraris are relatively common, kids get dropped off to school in top trim Panameras, etc. And, honestly, even to me, someone who identifies cars via taillights at night, it looked like an R8 with an ugly grill. Acura could have supported a $100,000 exotic-beater maybe. And I mean maybe. They would have been better off doing a sub-$50,000 roadster to compete against the F-type and Z5. Something to show a new, gorgeous design language and try and bring back some luxury aspiration to the brand versus the current model of "a slightly nicer Accord and a reliable 3-row SUV that you bought since Lexus doesn't make one (yet)".
Having driven an original NSX ( glorious ); a 911 Carrera S ( sister's car ); and a Testarossa ( reeked of unburnt gas and had a crap clutch and couldn't be seen out of and idled poorly and sucked minivan drivers in with cell-phone cameras at the broadside ), I'd have a bone-stock Nissan GT-R.