Japanese carmaker Honda emerged as the third-largest carmaker in July with a 40% jump in volumes to 15,709 units, overtaking home-grown player Mahindra, which saw a drop of 5% in monthly sales to 14,708 units.
With a market share that has more than doubled from about 3% in FY13 to almost 7% (April-June FY15), Honda is behind market leader Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai that command about 44% and 17% market shares, respectively.
Honda's success largely comes on the back of a shift in focus to the mass market from the premium segments that started with the launch of Brio in September 2011, but really gained strength after the Amaze — its first diesel model in India with an all-new 1.5 litre i-DTEC engine — was launched in April 2013. Thereafter the company launched the new City in January this year and the Mobilio MPV last month, both of which also sport the same diesel engine. City and Amaze have both been a strong success with monthly volumes of 7,000 units.
“We actually have a capacity constraint and are currently making as much cars as we can. We will have to soon see when to start the second shift at the new Tapukara plant,” Jnaneswar Sen, senior VP for marketing & sales said. Honda at present operates two plants at Greater Noida and Tapukara (Rajasthan) with a combined output of 1.4 lakh units a year.
Volumes may only grow from here with the launch of the new Jazz early next year that will be Honda's first diesel hatchback in the market. Sources say this will be followed by a compact SUV on the Brio/Jazz platform, a new small car below Brio, a diesel variant of the CR-V and the new Accord.