Honda India, riding high on the success of its new products the Amaze and 2014 City, is preparing for the launch of its all-new MPV the Mobilio and the Jazz hatchback. In a round table conference Jnaneshwar Sen, senior vice-president marketing and sales, Honda Cars India officially revealed the company’s plans for 2014.
Sen, revealed that the Mobilio will be launched in the second quarter of FY 2014 and the pilot production of the vehicle has already begun. It has 90 per cent of local content which is mighty impressive. The vehicle will be the segment leader in terms of internal space and will seat seven occupants in comfort. It will be larger than the Ertiga (its main rival), but the dimensions of the Indian model isn’t out yet.
Following the Mobilio, the company will launch the Jazz hatchback, but they are yet to decide on model variants and its production location. The Jazz will be available with petrol and diesel engine options and an automatic transmission will be offered too. The Jazz will be competitively priced as Honda has managed to localise it upto 72 per cent.
Commenting further, Sen said, the Vezel crossover won’t make it here and they are yet to decide on a compact crossover. The CR-V won’t be available with a diesel engine and the Civic might not come soon either. The primary reason is the shrinking sales of the D-segment.
Honda’s new strategy is to focus on volumes as that further strengthens their stand in the market and also pleases the vendors. On their best performing cars, he said, the current waiting period for the Amaze is three weeks and the City is at three months. The sales split of the Amaze diesel and petrol is 55 per cent for the diesel variant and 45 per cent for the petrol.
Talking about competition, he revealed that Honda might bring in the Accord sedan this time, better equipped to take on the segment leader Skoda Superb. There is a possibility that the Accord hybrid might be offered, but the chances are very low.
When asked if the Amaze will be revamped to counter the threat from the Hyundai Xcent, Sen replied with a negative. Honda will focus on durability, quality, reliability, fuel-efficiency and space, you can add accessories but cannot add space, he said.
In terms of business, Honda ended FY 2013-14 on a great note, the introduction of the Amaze and 2014 City have to be credited for it as much as the addition of a diesel mill. The second plant in Tapukara, Rajasthan has helped enhance the volumes. The company sold about 1.34 lakh cars posting a 83 per cent growth over the previous FY.
Honda claims the Tapukara facility will be expanded further as it boasts a greater space 450 acres in comparison to the Noida plant at 150 acres. About 10,000 Amaze and Brio’s and 232 crore worth of components were exported from India.
Honda is planning to further strengthen its dealer network from 170 in 17 cities to 250 dealers in 25 cities.
The addition of a diesel engine and new models seems to have changed the fortunes of the big H in India. The addition of the Mobilio and the Jazz will boost their position further in the Indian car market and it seems they are prepared for another five years. We believe Honda might feature in the top five manufacturers list by the end of FY 2014-15. Whether they actually will, only time will tell.