Customers who have been waiting patiently for stock of the 2012 Honda Ballade to arrive at local Honda dealerships can breathe a sigh of relief: Honda Motor Southern Africa has confirmed that a significant consignment of Ballades has been shipped, and will arrive on showroom floors by the end of July.
"The Ballade has been effectively sold out for more than six months now," explains Graham Eagle, director of sales and marketing at Honda Motor SA. "Our last shipment arrived in November 2011, and was immediately snapped up."
"However, the massive floods in Thailand in early October last year meant that all assembly at the Honda plant in Ayutthaya, where the Ballade is manufactured, was suspended, leaving our dealers with no stock, and greatly frustrating would-be Ballade buyers locally."
The Ayutthaya plant resumed operations in late March this year, and has since been running double shifts in an effort to reduce the production backlog. "As a result, production of the Ballade is in full swing again, and I can confirm that the first full shipment will arrive in South Africa later this month," Eagle concluded.
The Ballade uses the 1.5-litre i-VTEC unit also fitted to the Jazz. The i-VTEC technology intelligently adjusts intake valve timing and valve lift settings to meet the requirements of both low and high-speed driving, producing 88kW at 6600rpm and 145Nm at 4800rpm. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a five-speed automatic transmission is an option.
In the case of the five-speed manual, the Ballade is capable of sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.8 seconds, while attaining a top speed of 185km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is quoted as 6.3 litres per 100km.
1.5 Comfort Manual: R187 700
1.5 Comfort Auto: R199 700
1.5 Elegance Manual: R200 700
1.5 Elegance Auto: R213 000
Prices include a four-year or 60 000km service plan (15 000km intervals), and a three-year or 100 000km warranty.