Honda is pulling up socks to take on the best-selling car in India - Maruti Alto. The Japanese automaker is planning to manufacture low-price small car below the Brio compact, apart from driving in entry-level sedan Amaze in India. The automotive company is looking into a variety of options, which include an all-new car and even the 660cc famed Kei cars that it makes for the domestic market in Japan.
The entry level car market will continue to remain strong and positive, said Hironori Kanayama, president & CEO of Honda Cars India. He also added “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. The taste of the Japanese customer and the Indian customer is totally different (and) so we cannot bring that model (Kei cars) into India."
Honda’s plans of entering the entry level can have major repercussions for major players – Maruti (Alto), Hyundai (Eon) and Tata Motors (Nano). Auto analysts say a product from company seen as upmarket can see larger adoption of its model, likely hit low-price model Maruti and Tata Motors.
Honda has recently focused on localisation and India R&D has made the company confident of making cars at reasonable cost. Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, is appointed as representative of development, purchasing and production in Asia & Oceania Region. His major responsibilities will include keeping production cost under check.
Answering on all-new engine for the 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."