Honda has identified India as the launchpad for its global small car which will debut during the next two to three years.
Speaking to the press, the President and CEO of Honda Siel Cars India, Mr. Masahiro Takedagawa said, "The vehicle is being developed specifically for India as the lead country. The small car will be launched first in India and later for the international markets."
The new Honda small car launch will be part of the Japanese car manufacturer's strategy to create car models for its leading global markets first and then modify them to suit other markets. It is learnt that the small car is part of a bigger plan involving Brazil and Thailand.
Mr. Takedagawa explained that the Honda Jazz hatchback was developed for its lead market Japan. He said, "Once we complete development of lead markets, we modify the cars for global markets."
The global small car will debut in India and will be positioned below the Jazz. The small car will be an inexpensive offering. The Jazz is classified as a small car owning to its length and engine capacity. However, it is given a price tag of Rs 7 Lakh and above, which is costlier than many mid-size sedans in India. Actually, the Jazz is positioned above the Honda City in Thailand.
With respect to that Mr. Takedagawa said, "The 12 percent excise duty incentive offered by the government helped reduced its prices, bringing it below Honda City in India."
Honda has drawn up six regions for its global markets in the world as U.S., Japan, Europe, Asia, China, and Latin America. "I do believe that the planned small car will generate requests from other regions as well", he said.
Though car sales have been less than satisfactory, Honda is satisfied that the Indian market is more stable than most parts of the world, particularly during the slowdown. Mr. Takedagawa said that he was glad that the fundamentals of a national economy are in good shape in India which is an encouraging factor for car manufacturers.