Honda may launch small car cheaper than the Brio

Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), the Indian arm of the Honda Motor Company is planning to develop a small car to be positioned below its upcoming Brio for India according to the Business Standard.

The upcoming Brio was considered to be the cheapest Honda that would come to India so far. But the upcoming small car will be even cheaper than the Brio and will bring in lot of first time car buyers to Honda showrooms.

There are no hints as to what type of car Honda is planning to launch in India. However, we believe it could be similar to the ‘Kei car’ sold in Japan.

honda life small car photo
Photo: Honda's India bound small car could look a lot like this

In Japan, Honda sells a small car called ‘LIFE’. The Honda Life is a tall boy and has a body shape similar to that of Suzuki Wagon R (Japan specific model).

The Honda Life measures 3,395 mm in length and has a wheel base of 2,420 mm. When compared with the upcoming Brio which measures 3,600 mm in length, the Honda Life is smaller and seems to be the only small car Honda could offer in India. Also read: 2011 Honda Brio photo gallery

honda life small car photo 1
Photo: Honda's India bound small car could look a lot like this

The Life is powered by a 3-cylinder, water-cooled, 658 cc engine that produces 64 PS of maximum power and 93 Nm of maximum torque. The engine is mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The company claims a mileage of 19.6 km/litre.

In India, Honda could develop a 1.0 litre i-Vtec engine producing sufficient power and torque for the India-bound small car. Since mileage is a key factor for sales of these cars, Honda would ensure that the engine runs the most miles possible per litre of petrol.

The Honda Life is built on a monocoque chassis and has McPherson struts suspension at the front and a torsion bar suspension at the rear. The Life stands on 13 inch wheels and has disc brakes on all wheels.

The Life has plenty of cubby holes and brags of smart utilization of space. As a result it offers maximum head-shoulder-leg room for the occupants. In fact, the gear lever is positioned so close to the steering that it further increases leg space between the driver and co-passenger. Also read: Honda City diesel to be launched by 2014

Honda Life and Suzuki Wagon R are among the top 5 small cars sold in Japan in terms of sales. In India, the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is one among the top 5 small cars sold in the country.

Following which, i10 and Santro from Hyundai stable, sell in large numbers. The tall boy design has advantages such as shorter width, easy ingress egress, and better road view for easy driving in crowded areas.

These advantages give tall boy cars an edge over conventional hatchbacks such as the Maruti Alto. Hence, if HSCI launches a small car based on tall boy design and prices it competitively, it could have a major volume driver in its stables.

Currently, HSCI is gradually losing its market share in almost all segments. The lack of diesel engines in Honda cars sold in India is one of the reasons for low sales, the other reason being its absence in the mass car segment (Rs. 3 -5 lakh).

With Honda Brio, which is scheduled for a September 2011 launch and the upcoming small car, Honda could rock the Indian small car market.