Since its launch in India in 1998, the City, that car that built Honda in India, has sold over 7 lakh units—accounting for half of the company’s total sales (14 lakh units) over 20 years. This week, the City completed 20 years in the tough Indian market. The only sedan that has had a longer run in India is Mercedes E-Class. “The Honda City was developed as an Asian model, which became a global brand with presence in over 60 countries. However, it is India where the City has come of age. India is now the largest market for the City, accounting for over 25% of the car’s worldwide sales. The City continues to be an aspirational brand and enjoys huge brand loyalty,” said Yoichiro Ueno, President & CEO, Honda Cars India Ltd. The City was first launched in 1998, with two engine options: 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre, both in petrol. In 2000, the VTEC technology was introduced in the City. In 2003, the second-generation of the City was launched, with the 1.5-litre i-DSI petrol engine, which set new benchmarks in power and fuel-efficiency.
In 2008, the third-generation of the car was launched, and with it came yet another technology—the i-VTEC in the 1-5-litre engine. The same year Honda started offering ABS and airbags as standard equipment in the City. In 2013, the world premiere of the fourth-generation of Honda City took place in India. By that time, the country had become the most important market for the City. In early 2014, the fourth-generation was launched in India, with two engines—1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol and 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel (for the first time). As far as sales are concerned, the first-generation City sold 59,378 units (1998-2003); the second-generation sold 1,77,742 units (2003-08); the third-generation sold 1,92,939 units (2008-13) and the fourth-generation has sold 2,76,095 units (2014 till now).