This comes as a major shock to us. And we cannot even say that it’s a rumor as the news is being reported by one of the most credible news sources – The Economic Times. It’s true! The Japanese company is planning to launch its Brio compact in the country much before its schedule. Earlier the car was slated to be launched around Diwali. If the report is true, you would be able to book your Brio next month, that’s March 2011, although the deliveries will start only by August-September 2011. Honda will pip its rival Toyota in launching a compact car if it manages to pull the feat. It’s notable that even Toyota was planning to launch the hatch version of its Etios, the Liva in June.
ET is reporting that the car will be launched on March 17, about six months before its scheduled launch. Honda Siel Cars India refused to either confirm or deny the information. “We do not want to comment on this at the moment” a company spokesperson told ET. Expected to be launched in India months after the launch in Thailand, the car will now be launched simultaneously in the two markets, if this report is to be believed.
The Brio is a crucial launch for Honda, in a market where the company’s current models are not showing any growth. In a year when the rest of the passenger car industry grew by an incredible 30%, Honda was the only company to register negative growth. Clearly, the Brio is the only option that the company has as of now to pump up its volumes substantially.
The Brio will compete with the likes of the Swift, the Figo and the Polo in the small car market. Honda has not said anything about the pricing of the car in India, but we would want them to deviate from their traditional course of pricing their cars arrogantly if the Brio is to become a big success. An under 5 lakh pricing for the base variant would be ideal to start with.
Nothing official has come out on the engine options of the Brio either. However, the industry speculates that Honda will plonk in a three cylinder version of their 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine under the Brio’s bonnet. The three-pot mill should be good for 65-70PS of power and will offer great fuel efficiency. An automatic transmission variant may also be on the cards.
Does that information make you stop and think before making your buying decision? Does the Brio come across as a lucrative choice to you? Tap in some keys to let us know about your views on the new car, now that its launch is so close.
On second thoughts, it seems like just a ploy by Honda to make some customers procrastinate their buying decision, and be able to offer some resistant to rivals Toyota, at least on paper. Looking at it practically, the launch dates remain more or less the same, as the car would still arrive here only in September. What do you think?