Honda small car by next Diwali

Written by Shweta Bhanot | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 22 2010, 16:08pm hrs
Japanese car maker Honda Motor Company is targeting the next festive season (Diwali) in 2011 with its new small car. The company expects the small car to become the second pillar" for it in the market after the success of the City brand in the country, according to a top company official.

Tatsuya Natsume, directormarketing, Honda Siel Cars India, said, We will be going into commercial production in 2011 and aiming to hit the Indian roads with our small car in the festive season (Diwali). The company also plans to start exports to neighbouring markets including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan next year.

The small car will be positioned lower than the Jazz and will be manufactured at the companys Greater Noida facility. The new car is expected to be priced below Rs 5 lakh and will be positioned in the B+ segment. It is learnt that the car will come powered by a 1-litre VTEC engine, while the 1.2-litre engine from the Jazz is also a possibility. Incidentally, the diesel engine, the company is working on, is expected to be ready by 2011, the time the small car will be launched.

Localisation is important for small car to avoid currency fluctuation. We will be looking at procuring a larger amount of components locally, said Natsume. The company is looking at around 80% localisation on the small car.

It is investing around Rs 250 crore in its Tapakura plant in Rajasthan on a new shop to look into production of cylinder heads for the small car. Currently, the Rajashtan plant produces engine parts and body panels for City and Jazz models. Honda is looking at sourcing certain auto parts produced in India for small car for its other markets as well, said a senior official of the company. The new small car will be showcased at the upcoming Thailand International Motor Expo 2010 starting November 30.