Honda India has started work on their new Compact SUV and a small car for India. Both cars will be partly developed in India to benefit from local components and keep costs low. The project has moved from a consideration to a developmental phase in the last few months. Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, president and CEO of Honda Motor India, said the process to develop the small car has just begun. “It is not very far, but we can’t give you an exact time,” he said, without commenting about the Honda Compact SUV.
The Small car is being developed keeping in mind other South Asian and African markets and has been code-named as ‘World A Entry Car’. The new car and the Compact SUV will be built on the GSP platform, which it will share with the Amaze, Brio and the Mobilio. The small car will be positioned below the Honda Brio competing with the mid-entry-level hatchbacks like the Wagon-R, the Beat and the i10.
The Compact SUV is expected to compete with the Ford EcoSport and Mahindra’s upcoming compact SUV. The segment will also witness entrants from the stables of Maruti and Hyundai by that time. Honda’s new vehicles should hit the market by 2017 and help catapult sales numbers.
Honda is strengthening it’s R&D capability in India and plans to expand its dealer network of 107 to 150 cities by March next year. While Japan will be the lead country to develop the vehicles, Matsumoto has stressed on India’s role in developing the small car, saying it “will come out of the R&D centre in India”. “After a few years, India will be the No. 1 country in the Asia Oceania region, that’s why we already have a setup of R&D in India,” he said. Honda’s R&D base in Greater Noida has played a key role in localising existing and new cars. The new City has a localisation level of close of 90% and the new Mobilio has more than 90% of its parts sourced in India.