India’s leading premium carmaker, Honda SIEL Cars India (HSCI), which has already introduced its ‘Jazz’ this year, has indicated that its first small car (codenamed 2CV
) will be shorter in lenghth and will also be cheaper than the aforementioned superhatch. Taking a cue from its global peers like Suzuki Motor Corporation and Hyundai Motor Company, which have earmarked India as its launch pad for its premium compact cars like A-star (badged as Suzuki Alto in Europe) and i10 respectively, Honda Motor Company is also doing the same for its car in the same segment by 2011-12. The innovative small car, designed specially for the Indian market, would be based on an all-new platform, and would be the Japanese carmaker’s fifth global model in India. Though engine specifications and other details have not been announced yet, it has been learnt from media reports that the engine displacement would be lesser than Jazz (1.2 litre) and would be equipped with Honda’s patented I-VTEC engine would be having a localisation level of approximately 80-85 per cent. Since the unchristened car would be sporting a smallest engine amongst Honda’s existing portfolio in India, it is likely to likely to deliver the highest mileage amongst all of them.
Jnaneswar Sen, vice-president (marketing), Honda Siel Cars India, told wheelsunplugged.com recently, “The vehicle is being developed for India specifically as the lead country. It will then enter other markets across the world, Honda has always done it, which is to create a model for a lead country and modify it appropriately for other global markets. The second hatchback, which would be smaller than the Jazz, would also help in bringing these numbers.”
Though the timeline of its launched is officially not announced by the company, it is widely believed that the new car would be rolled out from its new unit in Rajasthan by 2011-12, where its Jazz model will also be manufactured at a later period of time. The 5-door premium compact car, which would be positioned at a below the Jazz superhatch, is speculated to be priced between Rs.4.5-5.5. Moreover, Honda Japan's R&D facility is currently developing the model earmarked for Indian roads. Once launched, it would be pitted against other premium compact cars like Hyundai i10, Maruti Suzuki A-star, Tata Indica Vista, Fiat Palio and to-be-launched Chevrolet Beat. The new small car, which would be a global model for Honda, is being developed with India as lead market in mind. India was the obvious choice for Honda because of its market volume and the availability and logistical ease of raw materials like steel and plastic.
Recently, Asian Honda Motor Co. president Fumihiko Ike was quoted as saying to the media, “The car would be sold in India at a price equivalent to the average annual salary.
There is a worldwide shift to relatively smaller and cheaper cars. We want to offer products to as many customers as possible. Honda products designed for the Indian market would be technologically advanced yet price competitive,” Ito said, adding, “We are currently researching on a India small car, which has to be packaged to meet the requirement of Indian customers, Indian price-point while adhering to the Honda brand."
Another media reports suggest that Honda Siel Cars India is considering introducing its first diesel engine in its next small car slated to be launched in two to three years. If Economic Times is to be believed Honda might launch their small car in India before 2012. There were indications that the global small car scheduled to roll out in the next three years would be part of a bigger Honda business plan which included Brazil and Thailand. However, a senior official has said that there was no reason why it would not be considered for Europe either, which is increasingly turning to fuel-efficient models, and Japan. Source