don’t be fooled. The pictures that accompany this article appear to be of the the first generation of the popular Land Rover Discovery but if you look carefully you can see that the vehicle bears the logo of Honda. Although it seems a Land Rover is a Honda Crossroad and reached the japanese market in 1993.
Imagine an off-road vehicle with great capabilities offroad that characterize the models of Land Rover combined with the reliability of engineering a japanese manufacturer such as Honda. Sounds good right? The Crossroad tried to make a reality of this postulate… and it was all a failure.
let’s See how it all begins. In the 80s and 90s Honda and British Leyland -group to which belonged Land Rover – they were very united. It is often said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and it is clear that the business also: both groups in car signed a joint-venture, an agreement of collaboration which benefited both the japanese manufacturer as the british.
The Crossroad was for sale in Japan between 1993 and 1998
For those years British Leyland suffered a severe crisis. In the previous decade had been flirting with bankruptcy and was bailed out by the government, with a huge restructuring. The quality and reliability of their cars was going downhill and the cooperation with the company of Tokyo allowed the technology of Honda is present in many models of the british group, which are marketed under the trademarks Rover or Triumph, for example.
Honda also saw the opportunity to take advantage of this alliance and put their eyes on a successful model, the Land Rover Discovery. The demand for cars 4×4 was growing up in Japan, the rival of Toyota Land Cruiser was gaining ground, and until that time Honda had no experience in the manufacturing of suvs. That’s why he saw in the british model the best option to venture into a new segment.
in Addition to the japanese market, the initial idea also included to sell it in the united States, in this case under the luxury brand Acura. This project is not continued because British Leyland didn’t have the capacity to manufacture so many units at the projected rate and in addition dealers north american Land Rover refused to have more competition. The united states was discarded, and efforts are focused on Japan.
Identical: models of Land Rover (above) and Honda (down) only differed by the logos
Although, in truth, efforts there were not very many, since it was a clone. At its launch in Japan the only modifications that Honda made the Discovery was to change the logos. Of fact is manufactured in the plant English of Solihull, just like the original, and after it was exported to the Country of the Rising Sun. The Crossroad was available with bodies of three and five doors, and made a full supply of accessories to equip and customize each unit.
The Honda Crossroad was marketed in Japan only with a gasoline engine V8 3.5-liter developing 180 HP associated with an automatic change of four gears. Interestingly, it is difficult to find in the Uk a Discovery with this engine since the great majority of sales were for the economic engine diesel TDI 2.5 l.
Land Rover exported to Japan around 3,000 to 4,000 units each year of its Discovery. Nippon mark rubbed his hands, with their large network of more than 400 dealers sure that they could overcome those numbers, but even so, they scored a goal modest. Honda was proposed as a goal to sell 1,200 a year, and were surprised to learn that in the first three years were sold less than a thousand units. Only a tenth of what I got Land Rover in spite of counting with a commercial network immensely greater.
A large catalog of accessories allow to customize each unit
in The end, the disaster was in some ways predictable. That a manufacturer as big as Honda use a copy of a model whose original is already sold in that market was a move of the strange, can not be denied. Even so, the Crossroad received a small restyling in order to try and attract the clientele that followed without understanding what is a painting that noisy off-road English in the catalog of Honda.
In 1997 he received the straw. The japanese brand had to make a call to fix a problem in the lock of the passenger door, there was a risk that it opened up with the danger that entails. For the japanese public came to be a model that is insecure, being the straw that broke the camel’s back, and his sentence: the traditional reliability of Honda was beginning to set in doubt and that could not be tolerated.
This Land Rover to the japanese ceased to be sold in 1998. In good part for being a disaster in sales, obviously, but also because at the end of the years 90 the group British Leyland was privatised and subsequently passed into the hands of BMW Group, putting an end to the collaboration with Honda.
Image catalog of Honda Crossroad
Ironically, though, passed without penalty or glory for Japan, the Honda Crossroad had some success in the second-hand market of New Zealand. Many units used ended up being imported there. This affinity has its logic because the country ocean remains within the British Empire so that cars English have pull, its difficult topography makes the 4×4 are very popular, and the Honda model is identical to the Land Rover but markedly cheaper about to suffer a devaluation much greater.
In 2008, the japanese brand got the name Crossroad-because without relationship with Land Rover – as the appellation of one of their models, a SUV that replaced the first generation of the Honda HR-V in the japanese market. The designation should be gafada because suffer the same fate as the original and he was only three years after the sale before being removed from the dealers.
Despite the commercial failure, that Crossroad cloned Discovery yes had other benefits for Honda. The experience and technology learned from japanese of this car’s all-wheel drive was the basis for the creation of the Honda CR-V, a model that today is the SUV most sold in the world. From mistakes you learn.