So the small car from Honda which we talked about a while back is very much happening. It is going to take some time, but it will be there.
It will be a small car that can take on the small cars from Maruti Suzuki, India’s foremost manufacturer of small hatchback cars. No, this will not be an ultra low cost car, like the Tata Nano, or the the low cost car from Nissan and Bajaj Auto. And the Alto class is too downmarket and outdated anyway, so you can’t expect Honda to place a car into that segment. On the other hand, above the Alto, we have the Suzuki A-Star and Ritz in India. Ritz has cars like Hyundai i10, Fiat Punto, the upcoming Ford Figo and Tata Indica Vista as competition – and that is where Honda will position its car. Honda’s current small car (which really is not very small) is the Honda Jazz which has not seen any great sales. So the new small car will likely be comparable to the A-Star or Ritz as far as size and positioning goes.
But as a Honda car, it will enjoy much greater brand image and status than its Suzuki, Hyundai or Fiat competition.
Honda cars are usually priced at a slight premium above comparable cars, and this is likely to be true for the upcoming Honda small car too. Honda’s buyers have never bothered about that anyway.
Newspapers are reporting that the code name of the small car under development is 2CV. It is expected to be powered by a small 1100 cc petrol engine, and manufacturing will likely be at Honda’s plant in Rajasthan.
Remember that automobile sites like ours, and automobile reporters in newspapers survive on speculation and all stories about upcoming cars are by their very nature speculative. The official stance from Honda is that everything is proceeding according to plan, and plans for the small car are going as per schedule.
We do not think a prototype or mockup of this car would appear at the upcoming Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi, as actual production is a bit far away.
The Honda small car, manufactured in India, is likely to be exported to Thailand under that country’s Eco-Car project. You can read our past stories about Thailand’s Eco-car project below:
Thailand’s Eco Car norms impractical, says Toyota
Tata Eco-Car project in Thailand
Honda gets permission for Eco-Car production