Honda 4th gen 'City' sedan unveiled; to hit roads in January
New Delhi: Fifteen years after launching the 'City' sedan in India, Japanese carmaker Honda on Monday did the global unveiling of the fourth generation of the car as part of plans to strengthen position in the country.
The company will start selling the model, to be available both in petrol and diesel variants, in India from January.
"With the unveiling of the all new City, we entering a new phase of trying to regain dominance in the premium car segment. This is Honda's counter attack," Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) President & CEO Hironori Kanayama told reporters here.
The City will compete with the likes of Hyundai's Verna, the segment leader at the moment, Renault's Scala, Nissan Sunny and Maruti Suzuki's ageing SX4.
India has been the focus market for Honda City, thus it was befitting to have the global unveiling of the all new Honda City in India, Kanayama said.
The company has already started taking pre-booking orders for the new model.
"The all new fourth generation Honda City, which would be available in both petrol and diesel versions, will take the legacy of the car forward," Honda Motor Co Managing Officer Yoshiyuki Matsumoto said.
Currently, Honda City comes with petrol engine only.
The petrol variant of the new Honda City comes with the existing 1.5 litre iVTEC engine, while the diesel variant would have the recently launched 1.5 iDTEC diesel motor.
The Tokyo-headquartered firm, which is present in the country through a wholly-owned subsidiary HCIL, currently sells five models here, including the compact sedan Amaze and hatchback Brio.
Honda Cars India sold 73,000 units in last fiscal and aims to market 1.20 lakh cars this financial year on the back of new launches.
It had launched the first generation Honda City in India in 1998 and has so far sold 4.3 lakh units of the car.
Kanayama said that with the addition of diesel variant of City, the company would have a better play in the Indian market where sales of diesel cars has grown significantly.
"We had a disadvantage in the diesel segment, but now with both Amaze and City coming in diesel versions, we will have a better play in the market," he said, adding that it would make the company present in 50 percent of the total segments in the Indian car market.
Honda will launch three more models, including the multipurpose vehicle Mobilio, in India, starting early next year.
The company had entered the diesel segment in India with the launch of Amaze in April this year and has so far sold over 50,000 units of the compact sedan.
It has increased the output of the compact sedan with a third shift at its Greater Noida facility from November to bring down the waiting period for the car.
"We were manufacturing 440 cars a day in two shifts, due to the third shift the production has now gone up by 40 percent. It has helped to reduce the waiting period to around a month," Kanayama said.
The waiting period of Amaze has come down to about one month from 2-3 months earlier.
He also said during the first half of next fiscal the company will start producing cars from its Tapukara plant, where it currently manufactures engines.
Riding on the success of the Amaze sedan, HCIL registered an overall sales growth of 63 percent in the April-October period this fiscal, with 70,831 units as against 43,525 units during the corresponding period last year.
The Japanese firm expects its Indian operations to account for 20 percent of its total volume sales of around 6 lakh cars in the Asia-Oceania region in the current financial year.