2014 will be a big year for Honda in India as the Japanese car maker will launch three all-new car models in the Indian car market.
Honda has been on a resurgent path in India, right from the launch of the Brio hatchback in 2011. With the launch of the Brio hatchback, Honda finally began confirming to the tried and tested recipe for selling cars in India, competitive pricing and heavy localization. By adding a diesel engine to this mix through the Amaze compact sedan, Honda has been getting more orders than it can service currently. The car maker’s factory at Manesar is operating at full chat and 2014 only promises to get much busier.
2014 will be a big year for Honda in India as the Japanese car maker will launch three all-new car models in the Indian car market. The first among these, and the one we’ve covered quite extensively is the 2014 City. The other two models are the 2014 Jazz built on an all-new platform and the Mobilio MPV based on the Brio platform. All these cars will be offered with diesel engines, will be heavily localized and finally, could also arrive with the new price strategy that Honda has figured out for the Indian market. We’ll run you through what you need to know about the new Hondas and timelines of the brand’s car launches in 2014.
2014 Honda City
Later this month, on the 25th of November, Honda Cars India will premiere the 2014 City globally, in India. The 2014 City, based on the next-gen Jazz platform will be the first of the 3 new cars that Honda will launch next year. The 2014 City’s official launch and deliveries will happen early next year, perhaps at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo or even earlier now that Honda’s stopped producing the current generation City sedan.
The 2014 City is expected to get slightly larger, with additional features and interior room. The 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine, with more power and torque, will make its way into the 2014 City. So, after five generations of motoring on with a petrol engine, the demand from the Indian car market has finally prompted Honda to give this car a diesel engine. Also see: Honda City global unveiling
The City’s competitors will include the Volkswagen Ventos and the Hyundai Vernas, in the C-Segment sedan class. There’s been some talk about Honda positioning the 2014 City at a premium, to position it distinctly clear from the Amaze while also serving as an alternate to the base variant of the Civic sedan, which has been discontinued from the Indian market.
2014 Honda Jazz
Also known as the Fit globally, Honda has already launched the 2014 Jazz in its home market of Japan. The 2014 Jazz is a completely revised model that comes with a new exterior design. On the inside, Honda’s taken the innovative packaging seen on the previous Jazz, to a higher level. Result: You get cavernous and practical interiors, in a compact package of a hatchback. Also see: Future Honda Jazz
Like the 2014 City sedan, the Jazz will get a turbo diesel engine for the Indian market. A petrol engine will be a given and this time around, an automatic gearbox could also be thrown into the variant mix. The Jazz will be front wheel driven with a 5 speed manual gearbox being a staple on the lower variants. With the Amaze compact sedan in India, Honda will have to walk a tightrope when it comes to pricing the 2014 Jazz. Expect a mid-2014 launch.
2014 Honda Mobilio MPV
Showcased at the Indonesian International Motor Show 2013 (IIMS), the Mobilio MPV has been greenlighted for the Indian market. Here, the Mobilio will lock horns with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Larger than the Ertiga, the Mobilio’s dimensions could be put to good use by Honda. A positioning highlighting the MPV’s capacious insides are likely to be extensively highlighted by the Japanese car brand.
Like the new City and the Jazz models, the Mobilio too will use a retuned version of the 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine. A petrol engine, with manual and automatic gearbox options could be the other options offered on this MPV. Since the Mobilio is based on the Brio low cost car platform, sharing of components and localization is likely to allow for a competitive price tag. An Indian launch in the fourth quarter of 2014 is likely.
Now that Honda has lined up a slew of cars for the Indian car market, with diesel engines to boot, demand for these cars could keep Honda very busy if it gets the pricing right. We assume that it would given the past lessons it has learnt from the marketplace here. Now, this brings us to the challenge of production capacity.
Honda has been severely constrained by production capacity ever since the launch of the Amaze and the subsequent success of this compact sedan. With Honda capable of producing around 10-12 thousand cars each month from its Manesar facility, the car maker has had to realign production to meet demand. Why, Honda is even having to go slow on Brio production to satiate the demand for the Amaze. With three new car launches lined up for 2014, the pressure on Honda’s production facility is only likely to go up.
Honda’s new car and engine manufacturing facilities at Tapukara, Rajasthan is said to become operational by 2014. Once this facility goes on stream, Honda will have the capacity to produce 120,000 cars/year from Tapukara alone, thereby doubling installed capacity to nearly 250,000 cars/annum. Even this capacity could prove inadequate even if two of the three new cars that Honda will launch in India become hits. So, working around this challenge will be key to Honda’s fortunes.