Acknowledging the importance of the small car segment in the domestic automobile sector, Japanese car major Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) has decided to advance the launch of its maiden small car Jazz to the middle of next year. Honda was planning to launch the car from its upcoming Tapukara plant but has now decided to roll it out from its mother plant in Greater Noida.
“In view of the importance of small cars in Indian market and the enthusiastic response which we got for the Jazz when it was showcased at the Auto Expo in New Delhi this year, it has been decided to pre-pone the launch of the car to the middle of next year,” said Takeo Fukui, president and CEO, Honda Motor Corp, while inaugurating the first phase of the Tapukara plant. “The initial roll out will be done from the current plant at Greater Noida.”
The Tapukara plant, which will have a capacity of 60,000 units per annum, is expected to be operational by 2009 end. Jazz was scheduled for an exclusive launch from this plant but the company changed it due to aid market conditions.
“We are not going slow on the construction of this plant and everything is on track here,” said Masahiro Takedagawa, president and CEO, HSCI. “The pre-ponement of Jazz launch is because of greater demand for small cars here.”
“Due to the taxation structure today, small cars are in great demand and we want to fulfill that. Rather than launching it later in the year, we want to cash in on the most productive period of the year-the festive season which would not be possible if we were to roll out the car from the new plant,” he said.
The company produces the flagship City, Civic and Accord sedans from its Greater Noida plant whose capacity was recently increased to 1 lakh units per annum. Takedagawa said that it would produce the City and the Jazz in a 60-40 ratio from the plant.
Though the company refused to divulge anything on the potential price of the Jazz, Takedagawa said its building cost would be very similar to the new City, which was launched on Thursday, indicating it will cost over Rs 5.5 lakh. “There is a great commonality of components between the City and the Jazz and the price of the latter will be lower largely on account of lower excise duties,” he said.