The newest Honda Civic Type R has a starting MSRP just under $52,000.
At that price point, the Type R is a compelling performance bargain, especially as far as dailable enthusiast cars go.
But unless you order one and wait your turn, you’re more likely to pay upwards of $80,000 — a $30,000 premium over MSRP
. Sounds extreme, but a Honda dealership in Abbotsford, BC. has already sold two Type Rs at that price point.
This is a problem for the Type R as a brand.
Because at $80,000, the Type R starts to keep company with heavy sedan hitters like the Audi S4, Lexus IS 500 and Charger Scat Pack 392.
In the two-door sports car world you could have a BMW M2
, Mustang Mach 1
or Toyota GR Supra
for that kind of money.
And I’m sorry, but that kind of markup does spoil the entire concept of the Honda Civic Type R
Because while the Type R is admittedly top tier in terms of usable performance, engagement and driving reward, the whole point of the car is being able to offer that performance, engagement, and reward in an affordable package.
That’s why the car is based on one of the most affordable and popular economy car platforms, instead of being a totally bespoke sports car. It’s supposed
to keep costs down.
The Type R is perhaps the very best enthusiast car purchase at its suggested MSRP of $52,000.
But at $80,000 it might actually be the very worst. There is simply too much healthy and in some cases, objectively superior competition at that price point to rationally purchase an $80,000 Honda Civic.
So… why is this happening? Who is sabotaging the success of the Honda Civic Type R with ridiculous over-MSRP asking pricing?
The first suspect is obviously the dealers themselves. But honestly, that’s a little like blaming a shark for smelling blood in the water and just doing what they do — especially when they start to get hungry.
Brendon Hall, general manager of the Abbotsford-based dealer in question, The Honda Way
, explained that Honda does have regulations for their dealers, preventing them from selling new cars over MSRP.
And in fact the sale of the last $80,000 Type R at The Honda Way did raise a flag with Honda Canada.
However, it was all found to be “above water” as Hall explains, as these $80,000 Type Rs in question are technically “used” vehicles. And with supply chain interruptions leading to a shortage of new inventory, dealers are doing whatever they can to scrape as much meat as possible off the bones of second-hand vehicles.
The Honda Way purchased both Type Rs back from the original owners.
“We got big into used cars to supplement the decline in new cars,” explains Hall. “We sold 200 new cars less last year than we did in 2021. So we had to focus really hard on used cars.”
If I learned anything from having a life-long car salesman as a grandparent, it’s that no car dealer is your friend. They’re job is to extract as much money as they can. And they will when given the opportunity. But they’re also just people with mouths to feed at home. So they’re not looking to make enemies either. And they need to be competitive. In all fairness, there aren't exactly cheaper 2023 Honda Civic Type Rs on the market right now than you could have today
Is The Honda Way skirting around a loophole? Kind of. Should Honda Canada tighten their restrictions to prevent this kind of “ car scalping”. Definitely.
But the truth is sharks are going to do what sharks do — eat as much as they can, when they can. Any of us in their shoes — including me and you reading this right now — would do the same thing as the dealers as a way to make up for the loss of the real bread and butter; new CR-Vs and Odysseys.
Still, we need a villain in this story, right? Surely we need somewhere to direct our keyboard vitriol.
How about the people who sold their brand new Type Rs back to the dealer as a way to squeeze out a little profit for themself? Neither of the cars in question even had 1000 km on the odometer. Neither had met the recommended break-in period for the braking system. It’s not like this was a trade-in after a year or two. These cars were new.
So, car scalpers artificially inflate the market. Let’s blame them, right?
According to Hall, the first Type R customer had been through a few vehicles with the dealer and had every intention of keeping their new 2023 Type R, however was forced to part with the vehicle due to a family emergency.
No word on the second customer, but regardless, people should be able to change their mind and find ways to put more money in their pockets if given the opportunity — for a million reasons, not least of which might be a significant life event.
Again, wouldn’t you be at least a little tempted to make $10,000 - $20,000 off your latest purchase if you could? It’s a far cry from the days when your car depreciated that much the second you took delivery.
How about the people who are actually buying the car at this ridiculous price point? Well, if you’re willing to pay over $80,000 for a Honda Civic… any
Honda Civic, then one might submit that you deserve to be separated from your money.
The deflating truth of the matter is that it’s not really any one person to blame here. Everyone involved, from the dealer, to the original owners, to the buyers are just behaving in the way circumstances dictate. A $50,000 car becoming an $80,000 is the cruel result of a limited market.
“It’s simply supply and demand,” explains Hall “These cars are just so tough to get. We’re only getting one a year for the next three years.”
Tempting here then to blame Honda themselves. This is clearly a manufacturing shortfall and one which results in undermining the market positioning of their flagship product — one which exists, as far as the bottom line is concerned, for the purposes of good PR and nothing else.
However, in comes supply chain issues once again. Honda was forced to cut production by 40 percent in 2021
due to the chip shortage. Hall sighted that this “supply and demand” issue has been a factor in not just sales of the limited Type R, but indeed across all Civic sales in the last two years.
The whole situation is frustrating. And made even more so by the fact that you can’t really reasonably blame anyone.
Until Honda can ramp production back up to meeting demand, you’ll either have to pay a massive premium (not recommended) or be patient and wait for your 2023 Type R.