Snapshot – Make no mistake, Japanese automaker Honda is on a definite upsurge in India, so much so that the automaker’s latest launch here, the Mobilio MPV, has upstaged market leader Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga, which until the former’s arrival was the top selling MPV here. The Mobilio represents the third consecutive success for Honda in India, a run chiefly characterized by adopting diesel power in a big way. While the Mobilio’s success was preceded by two other hot sellers such as the Amaze and City sedans, the automaker’s launch blitz isn’t about to ebb anytime soon. CarToq fleshes out a resurgent Honda’s launch road map until 2017.
Jazz B+ Segment Hatchback
Honda will re-enter the B+ segment hatchback segment next year, nearly 2 years after discontinuing the previous generation Jazz. In its second coming, the Jazz hatchback will see a big boost in localization levels and a turbo diesel engine. The 2015 Jazz, which will use the same platform as the City sedan, will also be available with a petrol engine, most perhaps the 1.2 liter i-VTEC unit. The diesel motor powering the Jazz will be the 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine that also does duty on the likes of the Amaze, City and Mobilio models. Price and positioning wise, the new Jazz is expected to square against the likes of the Hyundai i20 Elite and the Volkswagen Polo Facelift. Expect prices to start at a little under the 5 lakh rupee mark.
Accord Luxury Sedan
The Accord luxury sedan was another car that Honda discontinued in India. Like the Jazz, the Accord will make a comeback into India next year, in 9th Generation guise. The car will be sold primarily with a petrol engine line up although a hybrid option may be under consideration as Toyota offers such an option on the Camry. The Accord will be aimed at the chauffeur driven executive car pack, which is currently populated by the likes of the Skoda Superb, the Toyota Camry and the Hyundai Sonata. The Accord is likely to be assembled at Honda’s Greater Noida factory, alongside the CR-V, through the CKD kit route. Expect pricing of the new Accord to start at a little under 20 lakh rupees.
Amaze Diesel with NVH Refinements
The diesel powered Amaze will see refinements in noise, vibration and harshness levels, especially after car buyers have complained about the compact sedan’s all-aluminium diesel engined iteration being too noisy for comfort. Honda has already begun refining the diesel engine and refinements are expected to include additional sound proofing measures both in the Amaze’s engine bay and on the car’s firewall. A quieter Amaze Diesel is expected to find greater acceptance among car buyers in India, who are used to the much more quieter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engined cars.
CR-V Diesel Crossover
In India, Honda is garnering steady volumes with the third generation CR-V crossover, which the Japanese automaker introduced as its top-of-the-line petrol-only product last year. Plans are afoot to introduce a turbo diesel engine powered CR-V in 2016, and such an option could serve as a big boost to the crossover’s sales in India, where most successful SUVs and crossovers use diesel engines. The CR-V 5 seat crossover with a turbo diesel engine, most likely the 1.6 liter i-DTEC unit, is expected to be priced a lakh or two above the petrol powered model, which starts at 20.25 lakh rupees.
Honda Compact SUV
Honda is putting together a compact SUV based on the Brio platform for India. While Honda has the Vezel/HR-V crossover that it sells in mature car markets, the automaker has a yawning gap in the compact SUV segments of the emerging world, of which India is a large part. To address this gap, Honda will slip in a compact SUV aimed at the likes of the Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster. While details of the 2016 Honda compact SUV are scarce at the moment, petrol and turbo diesel power, and a monocoque construction driven by front wheels are quite likely for the new vehicle.
Sub-Brio Small Car
Honda has begun working on a small car that will sit under the Brio hatchback – which is currently the lowest priced car that the automaker sells in India – in terms of price and positioning. The sub-Brio Honda hatchback will feature a newly developed, 1 liter petrol engine. A diesel motor may not be in the scheme of things as Honda hasn’t equipped even the Brio with such an option. That Honda has commenced acquiring land for its new factory in Gujarat – which will also be its 3rd in India – indicates the big volume play that the automaker is preparing itself for. Currently the third largest car maker in India, after Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, the small car could propel Honda to a position from where the Japanese automaker can begin sparring with South Korean rival Hyundai.