Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Honda plans small car to rival Maruti Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon



Honda Cars India Limited plans to enter the small car segment market too in India and will subsequently will be taking up to rival Maruti Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon. At present the company is exploring various options including the Kei cars in Japan which are powered by 660cc engine.

Hironori Kanayama, president & CEO of Honda Cars India, said the entry car market will continue to remain strong, prompting the company to look at the option actively. "We are studying the market... (but) we do not have such a small engine, except for the Japanese market where we have the 660cc Kei cars," Kanayama told TOI, adding that the option of 660cc engine may not be viable in India, considering the different kind of liking displayed by customers here. "The taste of the Japanese customer and the Indian customer is totally different (and) so we cannot bring that model (Kei cars) into India."

He said the company is finalising the direction to be taken for the development of the entry compact car. "We need some time to make a decision on what needs to be done in this market. But we know that this market will be very stable, and will grow more," he said when speaking of the market below its Brio compact, which carries an entry price of Rs 4.12 lakh in Delhi (ex-showroom).

Honda has always found itself difficult to keep the prices under control however with its recent focus on localization and R&D investment in India, the Japanese company is confident of making sub-Brio cars with focus on price.

Asked whether the company will develop an all-new engine for the new small car, Kanayama said that appears to be the most probable option. "We have not yet made any decision, and this depends on the market and the result of our study. If necessary, Honda can develop the other capacity of the engine."

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