Honda’s Greater Noida plant has finally started producing petrol variants of the Honda City. The new City was launched in early January with both the petrol and diesel engines but production of the petrol variants were strategically held back to make way for the diesel model.
It is the first time the City gets a diesel engine in the form of the 1.5-litre i-DTEC mill. The frugal engine has been well received in the Amaze and coupled with keen pricing of the City, there was little doubt of its success in the mid-size sedan. In the first month of its launch, Honda sold 7,184 units of the City.
All these models were of the diesel variant. Honda tells us that since they began accepting bookings of the City, it has racked up 28,500 orders. Of these, 70 percent are for the diesel while the remaining 30 per cent is for the petrol City. Since production of the petrol City has just begun and about 8,500 orders have to be delivered, the waiting period is extending to about three months depending upon the variant while the CVT City has a waiting period of over three months.
At the launch, Honda was very optimistic about the automatic petrol doing better than the previous generation model and that initial assessment seems to be on track. Bookings for the automatic are about 20 percent of the petrol models, up from the average of 15 percent in the previous generation car.
Senior Vice-President (Marketing and Sales) Jnaneswar Sen, Honda Cars India says, “It is too early to read into this since demand predictions stabilize only about six months into the life of a new car and that’s when we will get a clearer picture.” He adds, “The shift to petrol cars is beginning to happen and in such a scenario, the automatic will only do better.”
Honda today began production of cars at its 2nd facility in Tapukara, Rajasthan. Both plants run flexible assembly lines so depending on the demand for a particular product, the company can plan its production accordingly and if a car isn’t doing too well, the Brio for example at present, it doesn’t hurt the manufacturer too much as the installed capacity isn’t idle.
To find out if the Ford Fiesta has a chance in the C segment, we have brought along the much-appreciated Volkswagen Vento and the segment flag bearer, the new Honda City, just to better understand where the Fiesta actually stands.
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