Honda’s New Electric SUV Aims to Crack the US Market
Honda Motor Co. is making a renewed push into the US electric vehicle (EV) market with the unveiling of its first electric SUV, the 2024 Prologue. Developed in partnership with General Motors (GM), the Prologue is being built in a GM plant and shares key components with GM models. This strategy allows Honda to leverage GM’s leading EV hardware and accelerate development.
The Prologue is seen as a placeholder until Honda begins producing EVs at its Ohio facilities using batteries from a newly constructed joint-venture factory with LG Energy Solution. The company plans to launch a series of new electric models starting in late 2025.
This recent move reflects a change in Honda’s perspective on the US EV market. Last year, the company expressed doubt about American consumers’ interest in EVs. However, Honda’s CEO, Toshihiro Mibe, has set ambitious targets of selling 30 new battery-electric models and delivering nearly 500,000 EVs in North America by 2030.
Honda has had previous struggles with fully electric models in the US market, having introduced and withdrawn three different EVs over the years. However, the Prologue and its upscale sibling, the Acura ZDX, are different as they are being produced in North America.
With an estimated 300 miles per battery charge and a price tag in the high-$40,000 range, the Prologue will compete with other Asian brand EVs such as the Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia Niro. However, its primary purpose may be to retain existing Honda customers who are considering switching to fully electric models.
Honda officials expect to sell up to 40,000 units of the Prologue in its debut year, with plans to increase deliveries to 70,000 per year. The company is confident that its success with hybrid models, accounting for almost one-fifth of Honda’s US sales, will set the tone for its future EVs.
Although the Prologue’s styling is unique for Honda, the collaboration with GM’s architecture raises questions about Honda’s plans to use GM batteries and vehicle platforms in the long term. The company has not provided further information on its co-development projects with GM.
The Prologue’s distinctive design, resembling a cross between a Chevrolet Blazer and a Subaru Outback, prominently displays the word “Honda” on its backside to help with brand identification.
Honda’s entry into the US EV market with the Prologue signifies a shift in the company’s strategy and demonstrates its commitment to growing its electric vehicle offerings. With its partnership with GM and plans for future electric models, Honda aims to establish a strong presence in the growing EV market and cater to the changing preferences of American car buyers.