Going small appears to be the next big thing, at least when it comes to crossovers and SUVs.
Debuting at the North American International Auto Show in January will be a new “Urban SUV Concept” from none other than Honda. The automaker released this not-so-detailed sketch of the little crossover, and says its full reveal will be at January’s show.
While Honda says it’s a concept, the company typically doesn’t showcase too many vehicles it doesn’t plan to eventually sell; for example, last January’s Accord Coupe Concept was a near match for the production version. Likewise, we expect the “Urban SUV Concept” to go into production alongside the next-generation Honda Fit, completing the trio of models based on that subcompact’s architecture. The other two will be a hatchback like the current model and a sedan.
The small Honda crossover will join the fray against other subcompact crossovers: the Buick Encore; Chevrolet Trax in Canada and Mexico; Hyundai Tuscon; Nissan Juke; and others expected to compete in size, if not price.
As we reported yesterday, Honda is planning to have a new Mexican plant up and running by 2014, where it will produce the next-generation Honda Fit and its crossover companion based on January’s concept. Honda will be using the plant to produce as many as 200,000 vehicles to hedge against the high-value yen. Currently, the Fit is made in Japan, giving Honda a slim margin on the base $16,215 Fit. By contrast, a base North American-built 2013 Honda Civic LX costs $18,955 with a much larger, more refined car.
The Fit is one of Honda’s central focuses moving forward, as the automaker wants to sell 2 million vehicles annually in the U.S by 2017, up from 1.7 million currently. The Honda Fit–including the vehicle we’ll see as the “Urban SUV Concept” at the Detroit Auto Show–are vital for Honda to get there.