Honda's Jazz had a forgetful first outing in the Indian market. However, those who appreciated the machine beyond its pricing still cling on to it, a primary reason why it is difficult to find used Honda Jazz cars in the market. Honda, which discontinued the car in India in early 2013 is now all to set to launch it in a new avatar this year. The refreshed Honda Jazz which was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo is expected to be in the Indian market by June 2015 and will be available in both petrol and diesel versions. A CVT can also be expected on the petrol variant. We caught up with Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice president, marketing and sales of Honda Car India Limited for a questionairre on the new Honda Jazz and here is what he said.
OD: The first time around, the Jazz was appreciated by critics but not by the masses. What makes you think it will click?
JS: It would be unfair to look at the new Jazz in the context of the performance of the previous Jazz. We need to realize that neither it is the same market nor the same product. Almost six years have passed since the launch of the previous Jazz and the Indian automobile market has evolved massively in this period. The new generation has shown an appetite for premium B+ segment cars. Six years back, this segment had very few takers.Also the new Jazz is a completely new product. It has done exceedingly well in markets where it has been launched.We believe that the combination of a receptive market and a brilliant product would work in our favour.
OD: We believe the pricing was the sore thumb in what was a brilliant package in the Jazz. Will it be priced very competitively this time?
JS: As a manufacturer, we put a price-tag to a product only after evaluating several external and internal price determinants. The upcoming product will be priced keeping in mind the market forces as well as the value proposition the vehicle would offer.
OD: Will the Jazz also have a diesel motor?
JS: The new Honda Jazz will be available in both petrol and diesel variants.
OD: What kind of transmissions can we hope for in the Jazz? Will there also be a halo hybrid variant?
JS: We will talk about the specifications of the product only when we launch it.
OD: The Hyundai Elite i20 is the benchmark in the segment. Will the Jazz have features similar to the i20 or more?
JS: We would not want to comment on the competition. Jazz will set new benchmarks in the segment with its packaging, style, performance and advanced technology. At this moment we will not be able to share any details about product specification.
OD: To enhance the ownership experience, will be there be any schemes pertaining to service or general warranty?
JS: We at HCIL always work towards providing the best ownership experience to our customers and we have been very successful in doing it. It's our endeavor to keep enhancing the experience for our customers.
OD: Any changes from the European Jazz? Adaption of India-specific features perhaps. Will the MPV-esque styling appeal to Indian buyers?
JS: It is too early to talk about the features of the car. We will talk about the features nearer to the launch.
OD: When is the launch of the new Honda Jazz?
JS: We plan to launch the Jazz in next quarter.
OD: How will Honda attract customers to the showrooms with the new Jazz?
JS: The successful global legacy and strong customer support for Jazz is one of the key pillar which will drive the aspiration for the car. The overall product offering will have a strong customer appeal. Apart from this we will have focused campaigns and activities to reach out to target customers across markets.
OD: How many units do you expect to sell in a month?
JS: We expect the product to do well. We have not set ourselves any target as such. We wish to be consistent and move in tandem with the market. We believe the Jazz would contribute to the growth of the premium hatchback segment in the country.
OD: Is safety still a priority or will there be a base variant without ABS and airbags?
JS: As shared earlier, we are not in a position to share any product details at this moment.