Japanese car maker Honda plans to notch up some fast numbers in India by introducing a sedan variant of its successful Brio hatchback and segment it below Honda City, its popular sedan. Honda's strategy honed in the last two years will continue with the Brio sedan — after Jazz & Brio hatchback — is expected to hit the market in 2013.
Honda plans to target first-time new car buyers, a strategy that is hugely successful with India with other car maker as with the new sedan that will be priced and positioned much lower than its highest selling City allowing options to garner a larger chunk of customers. Several players in India have succeeded by adding a trunk to its hatchbacks.
Maruti Swift-DZire combination has been a blockbuster with both cars becoming segment leaders while Tata Motors' Indica-Indigo duo the first in the league has also been successful. Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen has tasted success with the Polo-Vento combine and its sister subsidiary Skoda Auto also joined the league with the Fabia-and Rapid car offerings that were built on the same platform. Mirroring the success of its peers, Toyota, the Japanese car maker, has created ripples in the Indian compact car market with its Etios sedan and Liva hatchback models helping the company to become India's fourth largest car maker. "Honda's downsizing strategy will continue with the Brio sedan expected to be in the market in 2013.
Like its hatch counterpart, Brio Sedan will first be marketed in Thailand , with India to follow by the fourth quarter just before the start of the festival season," said Ammar Master, automotive analyst with JD Power Asia Pacific. The analyst added that the Brio sedan will give Honda added strength as it complements the City in India's highly competitive sub-compact sedan market. While an allnew mini multi passenger vehicle, also based on the Brio platform could also to be added to India.
"Named Brio MPV in our forecast, we expect production to begin in India by early 2015," the same analyst added. Honda's communication department , however, did not confirm the development. "We do not comment on media speculations," the company spokesperson said. Honda, which operates as a joint venture Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), is facing challenges with sagging sales in the Indian market, which has rapidly shifted in favour of diesel cars.
This has forced the company to develop some aggressive product plans to regain market share. Though it plans to bring a diesel for Brio hatchback sometime later this year, some new products starting from the Brio sedan would be added in a staggered manner to keep the momentum going.
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