At the end of last month, when Honda's CEO, Mr Takanobu delivered a speech highlighting the company's global plans and strategy, we finally got some clear information on what to expect from the Japanese automaker with respect to the Indian market. Today however, at the on-going media preview of the Brio Automatic, the company's plan for India got even more straightened out.
Firstly and most significantly, Honda has confirmed that the company has no plans of rolling out a diesel variant of its darling Brio hatch. Infact, Honda has made it clear that the new range of diesel engines under its “Earth Dreams” technology banner will debut in Indian with a brand new range of Honda cars.
And the first model to debut Honda's diesel engine in India will be a new sedan based on the Brio hatchback. Moreover, we can expect this new engine to spin off some break through technologies and also, Honda is claiming that the said engine will be lightest in its category.
Furthermore, the Brio based sedan will be a sub-4 metre model, which tells us that Honda is going to employ the 'boot on a hatch' strategy. Just like Maruti Suzuki did with its Swift to give us the Swift DZire and Tata Motors with their Indica-Indigo duo. Soon thereafter, the Europeans jumped in with the Volkswagen Polo-Vento combo followed with Skoda with its Fabia-Rapid cars. Toyota too, created ripples in the Indian market with its Erios and Etios Liva hatchback models.
Adding a boot to a hatchback has proved to be the new age 'could-never-go-wrong' strategy in the Indian auto industry. So, Honda's plan to join the gang is no surprise.
That said, the Indian market will have a long wait ahead to see the Brio based sedan on Indian roads as the company has hinted towards a launch only in 2014.
Moreover, Honda has also confirmed another speculation that we reported back in June about a new mini-MPV based on the Brio hatchback. The said MPV will also get a diesel powerplant and will compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.
Lastly, Honda has also shed some light on whether or not the company will introduce the 2013 Honda CR-V with a diesel powerplant in the Indian market, which has already been introduced in the European market. Well, the answer is no.
Honda Cars India stated that modifying the European diesel engine to suit the diesel available in India is turning out to be too expensive and therefore, have dropped the idea of a diesel CR-V.
For now, we can look forward to welcome the Brio Automatic that is slated to debut on 18 October and the Honda City CNG variant that is expected to be introuced by the end of this month.