Honda already has their plate quite full with the Amaze diesel but the company is on a comeback mission of epic proportions and has now confirmed that it will launch three new models in India by the end of next fiscal. At Tokyo Motor Show, among other vehicles Honda showcased the India-specific Mobilio MPV, the Fit/Jazz and the brand new Vezel compact SUV. And just a week after that Honda took the wraps off the brand new City sedan. This is going to be a massive onslaught on the market as all these products offer what is in demand in the Indian market. Honda will launch them over 2014 and here is a quick overview along with expected launch dates and estimated prices.
The all-new City was unveiled on November 26. The car promises added space, more features, improved quality and most importantly, a diesel engine. The petrol will get the same 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine as before, while the diesel will borrow the 1.5-litre i-DTEC engine from the Amaze. The car goes on sale in January 2014 and we expect it to be priced slightly higher than earlier. The new diesel variants should be priced about Rs 1 lakh more than the equivalent petrol version. Rs 8.5-11.5lakh is what we believe the car will cost when it goes on sale next year.
The Mobilio will be Honda's first MPV for the Indian market. We had a brief look at a pre-production model in Tokyo and suffice to say it has the goods to change the game in India. The Mobilio is based on the Brio platform and will be manufactured at Honda's new plant in Tapukara alongside the new Jazz. Local content we expect will be high to make it more price competitive. Expect high levels of fit, finish and refinement. The Mobilio also will be available with petrol and diesel motors - the former from the Brio or perhaps even the City, while the latter will be from the Amaze/City. Honda plans on launching the Mobilio after the new City and we expect to see it go on sale at the end of the first quarter or in early Q2. As the Amaze has been priced slightly higher than the Dzire we expect Honda to price the Mobilio a little above the equivalent Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. The Mobilio will take on the Maruti Ertiga and the upcoming Datsun Go+. Estimated price should be between Rs 6.5 and 9 lakh.
Compact SUVs are the current hot property in the Indian automobile market as the Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster have amply demonstrated. Honda naturally had to have a response and it comes in the form of this mini CR-V looking vehicle called the Vezel. The Vezel is the production version of Honda's Urban SUV Concept and boasts a 1.5-litre direct injection petrol engine from the City and for India, probably the 1.5 diesel from the Amaze. The Amaze's 100PS engine will definitely attract more customers looking for a diesel Honda SUV in the Rs 8-10 lakh bracket in India. Honda is keen on bringing the Vezel to India soon but will have its hands full with new City, Mobilio and Jazz as well as meeting demand for the Amaze and Brio. Consequently we believe it will hit India by the end of 2014 or possibly by early 2015 at a price of around Rs 6.5-10lakh
The previous Jazz was an excellent hatchback and we rated it one of the finest in our market. The product didn't do too well owing to its very high pricing. We drove the 2015 Jazz at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, and needless to say, it is an improvement over its predecessor in every aspect. And more importantly, it will also have a diesel engine. As far as the price goes, we believe Honda will learn from its mistakes this time around and price it very competitively. We expect the Jazz to go on sale sometime in the middle of next year or perhaps in the third quarter after the launch of the Mobilio. Expected pricing should range from Rs 5.5 to 8.5lakh.
Honda is expected to showcase the new City, Jazz, Mobilio, Vezel as well as the new Accord/Hybrid at the upcoming Auto Expo 2014.