Japanese car major Honda Motor Corp on Wednesday said it expected sales in India to more than treble to 300,000 units per annum by 2016-17 as it ramps up its capacity and introduces more models that use diesel powertrain.
Honda also said it would develop a small car entirely with the help of engineers at their in-house research and development (R&D) centre and it could be the next generation versions of its small cars Brio or Jazz. Honda will launch three new cars next year, including the new City and Jazz, which would be available in diesel for the first time, and a seven-seater MUV Mobilio that would compete with Maruti Ertiga.
“We believe India is one of the fastest-growing markets globally and we are also expanding our capacities accordingly.” said Takanobu Ito, president and chief executive, Honda Motor Corp “Our aim is to sell 300,000 units in India in the next three years. Along with Indonesia, the two markets will account for 60-70% of our sales in Asia, over half of our expected global sales of 1.2 million by that time.”
During the last financial year (2012-13), Honda had sold around 73,000 units in India. But this year, on the back of its entry level sub-4metre sedan Amaze, its sales have grown 63% in the April-October period this fiscal with 70,831 units against 43,525 units during the corresponding period last year.
“I feel India is a large market for small cars and we will research how to develop a car entirely from our R&D there. Our target will be to keep the retail price low,” said Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, managing officer, Asia Oceania, Honda Motor. “Our aim is to right now increase the localisation of our cars made in India. The next step would be develop a car. We are considering maybe the next generation Brio or Jazz.”
The company however said it had no plans to make a car smaller than the Brio. Rivals like Suzuki and Hyundai have developed cars like Alto and Eon for the entrylevel segment in India — the largest selling category in the country.
(The writer’s trip to Tokyo Motor Show was sponsored by Honda)