Honda said it will add one new model to its India portfolio every year from 2023 .
Honda has confirmed that its all-new midsize SUV for India will go on sale by mid-2023. This new SUV will see a global debut in the coming months and will go on sale in India first. On the sidelines of the City facelift launch, Honda also confirmed that it will add one new model to its India portfolio every year from 2023.
- Honda SUV coming by mid-2023
- Will rival Creta, Seltos, Grand Vitara
- City facelift prices start at Rs 11.49 lakh
Capacity to be ramped up ahead of SUV launch
Honda Cars India (HCIL) is expecting to outpace its rivals in the passenger vehicle (PV) market in the next year with the introduction of the City facelift and the new midsize SUV, which will go on sale sometime between July and September.
HCIL’s president and CEO Takuya Tsumura told our sister publication Autocar Professional that the company will try to grow faster than last year with the new launches expanding the addressable market. The company’s plant in Tapukara, Rajasthan is set to increase its daily vehicle manufacturing from 540 vehicles to up to 660 vehicles, starting April 2023, when it will be closer to launching the new SUV.
Honda Cars India launched a facelifted variant of the new City with prices ranging from Rs 11.49 lakh to Rs 20.39 lakh, ex-showroom. The company has also expanded the reach of the hybrid-powered variants by introducing it in two trims – V (Rs 18.89 lakh) and ZX (Rs 20.39 lakh) – of the facelifted City.
The prices of the updated City are around Rs 15,000-35,000 higher compared to the outgoing model, however, the company claims that the value extended to the customer is a lot higher, with ADAS features also being uniquely offered even in the manual-transmission variants of the facelifted City.
The updated Honda City will see strong competition from the Skoda Slavia, Volkswagen Virtus, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the all-new Hyundai Verna that will go on sale later this month.
Higher allocation for City Hybrid
Honda is expecting higher allocation for the hybrid variants of the updated City in FY24, and it expects the City hybrid to account for 15-20 percent of the car’s total sales in the next financial year.
Tsumura said the demand for hybrids has been very high in India and due to lower allocation from Japan, HCIL was not able to cater to the rising demand. “With the introduction of the facelifted City, we should be getting higher allocation for hybrid variants, and we expect about 15-20 percent of the City’s sales to come from hybrid trim,” he added.
CKD, CBU Hondas for India under evaluation
After consolidating its manufacturing footprint from two factories to one, Honda Cars India was able to break into profit in FY22, and Tsumura assured that the company is likely to sustain the profitability even in the current financial year. The market is also moving up the price ladder, and there is an inclination towards feature-rich and more premium models and variants, says the company.
While almost 60 percent of the sales of the Amaze and City come from the top trims, the ratio of automatic buyers too has gone up to the range of 40-50 percent for HCIL’s portfolio. The company says that the market is graduating up in terms of product price points and Honda Cars India will continue to focus on the premium end of the market.
To reinforce the brand Honda in the country, the company is yet again exploring the potential of bringing in premium models through the CBU as well as the CKD route to India. From a branding and retail perspective, HCIL is investing Rs 260 crore in the new customer interface (CI) of its showrooms, which will be rolled out along with the new SUV later this year.
In terms of the footprint, presently, HCIL has about 326 outlets across 238 cities in the country, and it says there is strong traction for the brand’s existing offerings – Amaze and City – in the smaller cities. The company claims Tier 3 cities account for about 30 percent of its overall sales.
Ketan Thakkar and Mayank Dhingra (Autocar Professional)
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