The all-new next-gen Honda CR-V passed a major milestone recently on its way to the marketplace. Of course, given the way the industry works nowadays, I'm not talking about Honda producing a few early models or anything like that: I just mean the automaker has created a mini-site teasing the vehicle's launch and promising to reveal more about it "over the next several months."
It's a start, though, and you have to remember just how challenging things must be for Honda right about now, with the company still recovering from the situation in Japan and supporting the launch of the all-new Honda Civic at the same time. But as vague as the new CR-V's timing is, the vehicle's importance to Honda is crystal clear. After also seeing its two-pronged attempt to jump-start hybrid sales with the Honda Insight and Honda CR-Z get pronged itself, the automaker was already in a deep funk when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and that disaster may actually have worked in Honda's favor, in a way.
Purely from a PR angle, it gave the company something to point to—beyond its aging products—as a reason for its relatively weak recent sales performance, while also helping to lower expectations for the launch of the new Civic. The stage is now set for the kind of gradual recovery at Honda that might have otherwise seemed too little, too late. It's been a long time coming, but a fresh 1-2 punch featuring the new Civic and CR-V should be an effective weapon in Honda's ongoing battle for sales and market share.