Well, I believe Honda in India is floundering. Like Ford in the US they had gotten so complacent that they thought the Honda badge would take care of every problem. Unfortunately it did not work out that way.
What would explain the fact that while other car manufacturers were busy increasing car prices - Honda is decreasing the price of their 'bread and butter' car?
Month after month (for the past few months Vento has outsold the City).
Inspite of the long waiting period, customers are willing to buy the Vento rather than go for the City.
Let's look at their models :
Jazz - Never really took off - Now with the reduction of the City prices - Jazz sales would be hit further. Both models are priced too close to each other for Jazz's comfort.
City - The only bread and butter model for Honda in India. Lack of Competition in this segment in the early years meant Honda had it all their way inspite of not offering anything more than the basics. I can't remember when Honda last seriously upgraded its City. The City is under extreme, very extreme pressure from Vento and the New Verna. The new Verna has already garnered amazing reviews and folks are comparing Verna and Vento. City is nowhere around. City's Vtech engine may be brilliant but Honda India needs to understand folks do not 'stay and live' in the engine. They need other
creature comforts too.
Civic - A good car, but of late also feeling the heat. Competition from Cruze forced Honda to add a sun roof but they are still reacting instead of leading the pack here.
CRV is history unless they come up with a diesel engine and that too priced aggressively. The present CRV is grossly overpriced and sales are abysmal at this point. IMO
- the Car industry is becoming more like a software industry. Upgrade quickly or be left behind. And for those who get left behind, there is no guarantee they could make themselves relevant in the changed scenarios.
Innovation, foresight and vision are the basic prerequisites for a auto maker.
Not having a diesel engine is going to hurt big time for Honda in India. Other competing manufacturers are going to have a field day at Honda's expense.
I think it's a matter of when and not if Honda comes up with a diesel engine on the cars. I hope it's not too late for them.