Honda has been introduced in the hatchback, sedan, and crossover segments but does not yet stand out in the Indian mask category. The SUV strategy has remained the same in the past, but the company has now confirmed that they will challenge the universe with special offers over the next few years.
Rajesh Goel, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Honda Cars India, told Autocar India: “We are developing a new SUV for India. It is based on the city platform and will appear after September 2023. Hyundai Crete, Kia Seltos, Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Kushaq.
Honda enters the SUV segment
Automakers are losing market share due to increased demand for SUVs in addition to traditional Honda sedans. “In the first seven months of this year, we saw an acceleration in the transition to SUVs. By July 2021, the share of SUVs increased by 34%. Goel said: “The share of sedans in each segment is decreasing. In a sense, Honda, which has been slow to advance in the SUV segment, has finally entered the high-margin category.
While we paid attention to the additional details, Goel said that Honda’s next SUV is a completely new and unique thing for India. So it could be a Honda model that is not present in other markets and is expected to be the first to hit India. However, Indian estimates alone cannot justify developing an entirely new product from scratch. As a result, this model can be used in other markets.
The SUV must be based on an urban platform
There are few official details about what comes next, but it was announced earlier this year that Honda is developing an SUV based on the City platform. It will be a 4.3-meter long model comparable to Hyundai Crete, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq, and Volkswagen Taigun. This mid-size SUV for India can also be linked to the production version of the Honda N7X Concept SUV announced in Indonesia.
City sedan with 1.5 petrol and 1.5 diesel and CVT transmission. This model will be available in the Indian market from September 2023. Known internally as the S-SUV (code: 31XA), this model is available in two versions with a second and third row of seats.
So the Honda SUV could also compete with the Tata Safari, MG Hector Plus, Hyundai Alcazar, and Mahindra XUV700. In addition, Honda registered the Elevate brand in India, the SUV nameplate at the time of its launch.
The shift in Honda’s SUV strategy has been accompanied in recent months by a restructuring of its Indian business. The Japanese automaker closed its Greater Noida plant late last year and made the Topkara plant in Rajasthan the only manufacturing facility in India. In an interview with Autocar India, Goel said: “We are on track to be a leaner and more capable company.
He said the cutbacks in manufacturing operations increased Honda’s utilization from 30% at two plants to 70% at one plant. We have updated our most important model Amaze, which will sell 40,778 units in 2021, making it the second most popular model in the compact sedan category after the Suzuki Desi. “The large ones are important because they make up almost 40-50% of the volume,” says Goel.
The city is another pillar of Honda’s business in India. The automaker plans to begin exporting a left-hand drive version of the sedan to India in early 2021 after the fifth-generation model was unveiled last year. “We will be exporting to countries like Mexico and Turkey,” said a senior Honda manager. In addition, the company is committed to bringing “traditional hybrids” ashore in the form of “urban hybrids”. Coronavirus Disease-19: COVID-19. In this regard, Goel said: “We will bring the hybrid (City) to the market in the next fiscal year.”