Firsts for Honda Jamaica

HONDA Jamaica celebrated 25 years under the ATL banner, on Saturday, June 4 at the Hope Zoo, St Andrew, with the release of two all-new first-time models — the HR-V Hybrid and the BR-V sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The occasion was dubbed the ‘Year of the SUV at Honda’.

“We’re elated to finally get these vehicles. We’ve been waiting the last few years for these models,” Vasil Lee, assistant general manager at Honda Kingston, told the Jamaica Observer’s weekly Auto magazine.

His words were mirrored by Petrena Purser, general manager at Honda Jamaica, ATL Automotive West.

“This dual launch represents a very special moment for us at the ATL Automotive Group and Honda Jamaica,” she said.

Doraine Josephs collected the first road-registered HR-V Hybrid at the vehicle’s launch on Saturday, June 4 at the Hope Zoo, St Andrew.
Vasil Lee, assistant general manager, Honda Kingston, highlights the premium features of the all-new HR-V Hybrid.
Petrena Purser, general manager, Honda Jamaica, ATL Automotive West, shows off the spacious third row of the all-new Honda BR-V.

Lee explained that both couldn’t have come at a better time as Honda Jamaica has been holding its own during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and both vehicles are significantly relevant to current customer demands. The HR-V Hybrid is for those looking to enter the hybrid market, for the benefits of saving on their fuel costs, with their favourite brand. This is the third-generation of the HR-V. Equipped with a 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle, four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC engine and paired with Honda’s new e:HEV Hybrid system featuring two electrical motors driven by a lithium-ion battery, the HR-V Hybrid can easily return over 50 miles per gallon.

“Now that we have the HR-V Hybrid available from Honda Jamaica, customers can come and get a hybrid from us with a warranty, they can get it with a service package, all backed up by the superb customer service we have,” said Lee.

Lee pointed to the value for money the HR-V offers with its numerous high-tech features, normally associated with the Honda brand. Nestled in the bold appearance of the new and larger bodywork of the HR-V Hybrid are items such as an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless charger, and Hands Free Access Power Tailgate with walk away close function. The HR-V also comes with the full Honda SENSING suite of technology for driver safety and convenience. The suite includes the Collision Mitigation Brake System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

The BR-V is a brand new model, fresh to the island and aimed squarely at those wanting seven-seater capacity from their SUV. Before the BR-V, the only option was the full-sized Pilot which was available only in left hand drive. The BR-V offers a third row of two seats that fold away into the trunk floor when not in use. It is available in two trim levels, LX and EX-L prestige. This allows buyers to choose from features like remote engine start all the way up to a leather-trimmed interior, and Honda SENSING.

Both Lee and Purser expect the HR-V Hybrid and the BR-V to be a hit with Jamaicans and continue to drive the success of the brand for another 25 years

The HR-V Hybrid is the first hybrid model sold by Honda Jamaica.
The Honda BR-V is the brand’s first seven-seater compact SUV.
The HR-V uses a 1.5-litre engine and two electric motors to hit over 50mpg.

“Not only is Honda the most popular brand in the ATL Automotive Group, but it is where the story started 25 years ago,” said Purser as she referred to the 1997 acquisition of the Honda brand by what was then ATL Motors.

Lee gave insight into what is in store for Honda in the future indicating the release of a standard petrol powered HR-V, a new Civic Type R, Pilot and TrailSport, among the upcoming models.

Making the night even more special was the delivery of the very first HR-V Hybrid to Doraine Josephs.

“I was looking for a vehicle and I need to upgrade because I had the Civic before. I said okay, I wanted an SUV and my sales representative Andrae Murray said you know what, we’re getting something new, and he thought it appropriate for me. He said the HR-V and I trusted him that it would fit my needs,” said Josephs.

In front of the crowd on hand, her new SUV was unveiled and handed over to her amidst a welcoming shower of fireworks.

“I love it,” said Josephs.

BY RORY DALEY Observer writer

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