Smuggling the only way in
If you want a new Honda NSX you’ll have to go grey to get it, writes JAMES STANFORD in Thailand
IF YOU have your heart set on buying a new Honda NSX super car you are going to have to rely on grey-market imports. That is the word from Honda’s Asia and Oceania chief Fumihiko Ike.
The V10 two-seater is set for sales in 2010 but Australia is not on the radar.
‘‘No official exports, but maybe smugglers (bring them),’’ Ike says of the sales plan.
Honda’s premium-brand Acura is at the heart of the problem. It’s planned that the NSX will wear Acura badges only for sales in the US. The logical conclusion is the NSX could simply be sold with a Honda badge in some countries, but Ike says that could cause a problem.
‘‘Internally we are trying to harmonise the policy because NSX is exclusively for the Acura brand. But now we are not bringing the brand to Asia.’’
He says there may be strong resistance from the US if Honda badging is used on the NSX, that it would ‘‘dilute the image’’ of the Acura. ‘‘So that is a big dilemma for us,’’ Ike says. He says Acura in the US is struggling. It has been hampered by the lack of V8 engines or rear-drive sedans and adds the NSX is required to boost its profile.
‘‘We initiated the NSX for the sake of the US market. How to rebuild the Acura brand in the US, that is our priority,’’ Ike says.
Honda Australia managing director Yasuhide Mizuno says he still hopes something can be done to enable the NSX to make it to Australia.
‘‘We are still hopeful,’’ he says. ‘‘It is going to be a fantastic car.’’
Mizuno notes the Honda Legend is already sold as an Acura in the US and as a Honda in other markets such as Japan and Australia. He hopes Honda management will decide to allow the NSX to be sold as a Honda.
Honda Australia has previously discussed the possibility of bringing the Acura brand to Australia. Acura is Honda’s version of Lexus, which is the prestige arm of Toyota and has been increasing its global sales.
Nissan also has a luxury division called Infiniti, which is designed to cater to the US market. Despite failing dismally the first time (Infiniti was in Australia in the mid-1990s), Nissan plans to bring the brand back here.
Honda prelude: the sleek and stunning looks of the Acura concept with (below) Honda’s original NSX.