Honda to develop global car platform with India focus


NEW DELHI: Japan’s Honda Motor is developing a brand new global car platform with a strong focus on India and this could give birth to a new premium compact car, a sedan, and an SUV.

The company is also studying the possibility of driving in HR-V SUV in India (to be placed below CR-V) and new Civic premium sedan.

“It may take at least three-to-four years for the new platform to develop,” Noriake Abe, Honda’s chief operating officer for the Asia & Oceania region, told TOI here.

Noriake Abe said the R&D team in India will play a key role in development of the new plat form, along with teams in Thailand, Brazil, and headquarters Japan. The products from the platform will be for India and for countries in the Asean region and South America. Abe said competition in India has been stiff, especially in the mass segment where Maruti and Hyundai dominate. The company has now decided to focus on the premium-end of the market, with flagship City sedan and compact Jazz leading the charge.

Abe said Honda is also looking to get in existing models from the company’s global line-up. Asked about Civic and the HR-V, he said, “They are being studied.”

Honda has got two factories in India and has a capacity of around 2.4 lakh units annually. However, the company has been able to sell only around 1.4 lakh units in the eleven months of this fiscal (April’16-February’17), reporting a 21% decline in sales.

Company officials said they expect a return to growth as new models are introduced and consumer demand stabilises. Honda hopes that Indian car market will see healthy growth as buyers shrug off negatives from measures such as the demonetisation, which impacted demand in smaller markets last year.

Drives in WR-V mini SUV
New Delhi: Honda Cars India on Thursday drove in WR-V mini SUV, pricing the entry petrol variant at Rs 7.7 lakh and diesel at Rs 8.8 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The new car, developed on the Jazz platform, will compete with models such as Maruti’s Brezza and Ford’s Eco Sport. The petrol variant sports a 1200cc engine, while the diesel is strapped with a 1500cc engine.