Honda Jazz premium hatchback launch may see a delay in India

Japanese automaker Honda is on a roll in India, not just in the two wheeler category but in cars too. The 1.5 liter-4 cylinder i-DTEC turbo diesel engine has changed Honda’s fortunes in India, along with a focus on heavy localization. The automaker has scored three successive hits in the Indian car market, with the likes of the Amaze, City and Mobilio turning out to be sales spinners in their respective segments.

Honda is now in the process of strengthening this growth with the expansion of manufacturing capacity and dealership reach. While Honda will set up no less than 100 new dealerships across India by March 2016, the automaker is having to contend with limited manufacturing capacity at its factories situated in Greater Noida, off Delhi, and Tapukara, Rajasthan.

The limited production capacity of 240,000 cars each year coupled to three consecutive hit cars, means that Honda finds itself in the unenviable position of having to postpone a car’s launch in order to meet the demand for its current crop of automobiles. The upcoming Honda Jazz, which was pitted for a March 2015 launch, is likely to be postponed by a few months.

The Jazz is a premium B+ segment hatchback, which was discontinued from the Indian market last year even as an-all new version loomed large on the horizon. The new generation Jazz, which has already made its debut in Japan and other South East Asian car markets, will be sold in India with petrol and turbo diesel engines.

Extensive localization is expected to allow Honda to price the car well. The Honda Jazz is expected square off against the likes of the Hyundai Elite i20 and the Volkswagen Polo GT Twins in terms of price and positioning, purveying its versatility and spaciousness to practical minded buyers in India.

While a slight delay in the Jazz shouldn’t upset Honda’s apple cart by too much, a protracted delay has the potential of driving prospective buyers away to rival brands. So, it is in Honda’s best interests to bring in the Jazz as quickly as possible to the Indian market, considering the high anticipation for this car among buyers here.

The Japanese automaker will have to walk the thin line between introducing exciting new products that have the potential for big volumes and bringing up its production capacity to steam so that long waiting period don’t prove to be the dissuading factor for buyers. The automaker is already working on the latter.

By March 2017, Honda’s production capacity will expand to 300,000 cars a year, from its two factories at Greater Noida and Tapukara. For the question, is this enough, the answer lies in a spanking new factory, said to come up at Gujarat. Read more about the 2015 Honda Jazz here.

Via BusinessStandard