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Honda’s appeal to SME business users – and should you go petrol, diesel or hybrid?



20 June 2018

HONDA is a brand that has always resonated strongly with SME businesses.

It’s no doubt down to that great combination of sportiness laced with lashings of dependable reliability.

Think Type R. And Civic. Fizz served in an unbreakable champagne glass.

And now Honda is coming back with a range of strong-looking products – there’s the fabulous Urban EV Concept and Sports EV Concept unveiled at the Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows respectively.

The Honda Sports EV Concept
The Honda Sports EV Concept

Marc Samuel, who heads up Honda’s business sales as Fleet Sales Operations Manager, told me that Urban EV is coming next year.

Unfortunately there’s no confirmation yet from Honda on the Sports EV seeing production. But it does look fairly production-ready, don’t you think?

It’s part of Honda’s push into hybridisation and electrification – hybrids and electric cars (EVs). In fact the new Honda CR-V will be petrol or hybrid only. No diesel.

I went along to meet Marc recently at Honda’s HQ in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Marc Samuel from Honda
Marc Samuel from Honda

So what would Marc say to a small business wondering if a petrol, diesel or hybrid car was best for their business motoring?

Petrol, diesel or hybrid?

“It’s very much a case of understanding what your drivers are using the car for. I very much see there is a place for diesel. It’s like buying a suit. You know what you want, it depends on what you want it for.

“So if in your company car you travel over 28,000 miles a year then a diesel makes commercial sense.

“But petrol tech has come on so well that you can have an effective car with a low benefit in kind. Hybrid will help this. So a Civic petrol and diesel model look the same – all you need to do is decide on what you want it for.”

Marc says Honda’s Platinum dealers can help SME businesses over such questions.

“Platinum is our SME business programme and designed to look after sub 10 fleet – we do encourage dealers to go out and meet their local small businesses and work on a consultative basis.

“For me, the key attributes of Hondas are their strong reliability, good residual values, competitive pricing whether you are purchasing or leasing a Honda, along with well specified cars for business users.”

The Honda range – why would you lease one?

The Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz

For a bit of fun, I asked Marc to encapsulate the Honda models in one line if you were thinking of leasing a Honda.

So this is what Marc came up with:

  • Jazz – a tardis
  • Civic – sporty and adaptive
  • HR-V – technology
  • CR-V – comfort – I love it! It will also go anywhere
  • NSX – why wouldn’t you buy an NSX if you could!

I think that’s a pretty good effort!

Along with these I have to say it’s good to see that Honda has more compelling products coming our way. The CR-V is something of a darling for SMEs, and we love it here at BCM towers too.

The Honda NSX
The Honda NSX

But Honda went through something of a lean period with product – so it’s great to see the company really getting its design head back in shape with new cars like the Urban EV Concept.

It looks like a future staple for SMEs.

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Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Business Car Manager (now renamed Business Motoring). Ralph writes extensively about the car and van leasing industry as well as wider fleet and company car issues. A former editor of What Car?, Ralph is a vastly experienced writer and editor and has been writing about the automotive sector for over 35 years.

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