Japanese car major Honda Cars India is set to mark its entry into the utility vehicle segment with the launch of the Mobilio multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in the second half of July.
The vehicle that was earlier showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo would be positioned between the Maruti Ertiga and Toyota Innova. Based on the Honda Brio and Amaze platform, it’ll be powered by 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engine and is likely to be priced between Rs. 7 lakh and Rs. 11 lakh. Bookings are expected to begin by end of this month.
“The Mobilio will help evolve the utility vehicle market in the way that the small car segment has evolved in India. It is a vehicle that has been designed specifically for the Asian markets,” said Jnaneswar Sen, vice-president, sales and marketing, Honda Cars India Ltd. “Currently, we have the Innova at the higher end of the segment while the Ertiga is at the bottom end. Mobilio will plug the gap.”
Honda hopes the Mobilio will follow the success of its small sedan Amaze from last year. It posted its highest ever annual sales of 1,34,339 units during 2013-14 recording 83% growth over 2012-13 and is aiming at a double digit growth this year. Mobilio, however, may see competition from its own stablemates such as the Amaze and the City.
“The pricing maybe similar but a sedan customer is very different from a utility vehicle customer,” Sen said. “Somebody who buys a sedan has nuclear family and for him styling is a big factor. A utility vehicle customer has different priorities and looks more at space and utility.”
Mobilio may also face resistance as utility vehicle sales have declined by 5.01% in 2013-14 as rising diesel price dampened its lure.