Honda City makes comeback with July sales

After the price cut in June by Rs 66,000, Honda City has again become among the top-selling sedans in July, just a shade below the Hyundai Verna. A look at why City is again a favourite among sedan buyers again.

With a sales jump of 46% over June to 4,092 cars, the City sold only 630 cars less than the Hyundai Verna sold last month. The best-seller since its launch three months back, the Verna has the City nipping at its heels now.

What makes this feat even more incredible is that the Honda City is powered a single petrol engine (1.5 litre, 118 bhp) across all the six variants. So the City has done well when most buyers have been shopping for diesel sedans ever since fuel prices began to rise sharply since the beginning of the year.

honda city photo
Photo: Honda City stages dramatic comeback as second-largest selling mid-size sedan in July

To put this in perspective: the Hyundai Verna sells in 10 variants, with four engine options – two diesel and two petrol, and most of the Vernas are loaded with gizmos compared to the Honda City.

Honda cars are seen as trouble free and generally fuel efficient. Honda has also been known to squeeze out good power from low displacement engines. For instance, the City’s 1.5 litre motor makes 118 bhp of power, while the Vento and SX4 have 1.6-litre engines that put out 104 bhp of power, while the global Ford Fiesta’s 1.5-litre engine puts out 109 bhp of power.

Hyundai’s Verna has a 1.6-litre engine that puts out 122 bhp of power, just marginally better than the Honda City, but is not a patch on the Honda City when it comes to handling. And that’s what buyers of the City crave.

The City is a great handling car, has good power and is reasonably fuel efficient with a claimed mileage of 16.5 kmpl.

Better value for money now

The Honda City does not have climate control on any variant. It has only a simplistic MP3/USB/radio music system (no CD player). It does not have parking sensors or auto fold mirrors. But it does have two airbags and ABS as standard across variants.

It is after the price cut that the car is now perceived to be much better value for money. People felt they were paying too much for the City when rivals offered them far more features at a lower price. Related: Honda City prices slashed

So the City had started losing ground very rapidly since the beginning of this year. In March, April and May, the Volkswagen Vento and Maruti SX4 both outsold the Honda City, with the Vento holding the top spot among premium mid-size sedans for a couple of months until the Hyundai Verna came along. Also read: VW Vento outsells Honda

Honda sales steadily declined in the same period touching a low of 1,542 cars in April with only marginally better numbers in May.

Now, of course, the one big gap in the City proposition is the lack of diesel engine.  Honda has said that it’s not likely to get a diesel engine option for the City until 2014. Do you think the City can sustain its sales in the coming months?