The BR-V is Honda's next big launch which is touted to happen this year. Honda has already announced that the BR-V will make a national premiere at the 2016 Auto Expo, to be held next month. We recently caught up with Raman Sharma, senior vice president and director, Honda Cars India Limited to know more on the upcoming BR-V.
The Honda BR-V (Bold Runabout Vehicle) will mark the brand's entry into the compact SUV segment, a first for Honda. It is bigger than the Ford EcoSport and Mahindra TUV300 and will be positioned as a premium offering by Honda. The BR-V is based on the Mobilio platform and will enjoy a place above the seven-seater MPV.
Honda will launch the new BR-V in the first quarter of next fiscal. It will be manufactured at the Tapukara plant to begin with. Presently, the plant has an annual production capacity of 1,20,000 units which will be increased to 1,80,000 this year. This expansion is supposed to happen between May to June this year, the same time when the BR-V is expected to be in showrooms here. The company has already made production plans for the BR-V and is also prepared to expand capacity at the Greater Noida plant to cater to more demand.
The new Honda BR-V looks attractive and premium. The face of the BR-V is clearly inspired by the flagship CR-V. In terms of dimension, the BR-V is large too, considerably longer than the Renault Duster, about as much as a Scorpio. The silhouette reminds of the Honda Mobilio, with a similarly styled window line. The rear of the Honda BR-V has long wrap-around lights that are linked by a red reflective strip. The BR-V does look a little narrow from the rear and again reminds of the Mobilio from the rear three quarters.
Inside, the upholstery looks similar to that of the Honda City with cabin space and layout akin to the Honda Mobilio. We expect Honda to offer a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation on the top end trim. The BR-V's USP is its seven-seat, which none of its competitors offer. Third row occupants also get an armrest and cup holder on either side. Middle and rear passengers get a roof mounted aircon that has three blower settings and three air vents.
Honda will be looking at volumes to get a larger share of the compact SUV segment. The difference in pricing of both the models will not be substantial. Similar to other products, the Honda BR-V will have close to 90 per cent localisation. The CVT unit which will be offered on the BR-V automatic will be imported from Indonesia but apart from that, Honda will indigenise majority of components to make sure the pricing of BR-V stays very competitive.
The Honda BR-V will have an edge over its competition with higher levels of localisation. The Indian facility already makes world class components which are exported abroad. Honda India plans to export Rs 1000 crore worth of spare parts in 2016, a leap of Rs 300 crore from the business they did in 2015.
The Honda BR-V will rival the likes of Hyundai Creta and Maruti Suzuki S Cross in the premium compact SUV range. We believe with the base variants, the BR-V will also target the Ford EcoSport. Since the Honda BR-V is based on the Mobilio platform and also shares cabin space and features with the MPV, there will be certain level of cannibalization. Honda will market the BR-V as a sporty family mover with a seven-seater configuration, first in the segment.
The Honda BR-V will be exported to the SAARC markets, where the brand normally caters to. In addition, the BR-V will also be exported to the South African markets depending on the demand.