Any preference to some under Indo-EU FTA will be unfair: Honda

Stressing on 'equal competition', Japanese auto major Honda Wednesday said it would be 'unfair' if some specific car makers were given preference under the Indo-EU Free Trade Treaty.

Updated: Jun 26, 2013, 21:22 PM IST

Chennai: Stressing on 'equal competition', Japanese auto major Honda Wednesday said it would be 'unfair' if some specific car makers were given preference under the Indo-EU Free Trade Treaty.

"We believe free competition would be a good help for the (automobile) companies and to the countries accompanying that companies. To do so, we should be entitled to equal opportunity, equal competition," Honda Cars India Ltd President and CEO Hironori Kanayama told reporters here.

"If some preferences are given to some specific manufacturers, our game is going to be unfair. So, I hope we can enjoy equal opportunity", he said.

However, he said India signing the FTA with European Union would help in the development of country's economy.

Commenting about their plans for India, Kanayama, on his first visit to Chennai, said the company had lined up four new models to be introduced in the country with company planning to showcase some of its latest models.

"We are still studying. Anyway, Auto Expo creates a lot of attention among the media and customers. So I hope we can showcase some of the new models as much as possible", he said.

The company has planned to launch four new models which include a upgraded variant of hatchback Jazz, a seven seater Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a compact SUV and a upgraded version of its highly popular sedan -- City by 2015.

On the foray into diesel segment with midsize sedan 'Amaze', Honda Cars India Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales), Jnaneswar Sen said roughly 80 percent of sales comprise of diesel variant.

Asked about any plans to reduce the waiting period which currently hovers at around 4-5 months, he said, "you see the demand is very strong. So, we do not see immediate reduction in waiting period. But, we will try to reduce it".

"We are trying hard to increase production. You see, there are some constrains like including suppliers production capacity as well, but we try hard to increase production as much as possible", Kanayama said.

Asked about the company's second plant at Tapukara in Rajasthan, which manufactures powertrain and press shop, Sen said the Rajasthan plant with an annual capacity of 1.20 lakh units would commence commercial production by next year.

The company has so far invested about Rs 6,700 crore in India since its entry.

Honda Cars India, which employs 5,008 people in India, has first plant in Greater Noida.

On exports of its products, Kanayama said, "we do not have any target at present. If you look at Honda's factories across the world, Honda has plants in South America, North America, Europe, in most of Asia. So, Honda's philosophy is being where the market is. As a result, export is not a huge thrust. So, currently, our (domestic) demand is very good."

However, Sen explained that exports of its Brio range of products would be "slightly" higher than last year.

"It may be slightly higher, because when we started exports last year to South Africa, it was not right beginning of the year. We did about 2,500 units(last year). So it is not going to be huge number or any thing.", he said.

Observing that the company grew by 35 percent to sell 73,483 units in 2012-13 from 54,427 units sold in the previous year, he said, "Southern region contributed about 23 percent on its domestic sales last year and this year during the first two months of this financial year, it already crossed 25 percent".