Evaluating market for more SUV models: Honda Cars

JAIPUR, Sept 11: Japanese auto major Honda Cars is evaluating the Indian market to introduce more SUV models going ahead, a top company official said Tuesday.
The company, which is set to bolster its sport utility vehicle (SUV) portfolio by introducing the next generation CR-V next month, has already committed to launch six models in the country over the next three years.
“The Indian market is diversifying, not only hatchbacks but sedans also. The SUV market is growing, so ofcourse as Honda philosophy we always try to study from the customer… What kind of vehicle will be appreciated,” Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) President and CEO Gaku Nakanishi told PTI, replying to a query about company’s plans to launch more SUV models.
Elaborating further, HCIL Senior Vice President and Director (Sales and Marketing) Rajesh Goel said the shift towards SUVs is a global phenomenon.
“India also has a similar trend and going forward one has to keep looking at the most optimum product which can be launched… To deliver maximum value to the customer, and that is what we intend to do,” he said.
The company is studying the market very carefully, he added.
When asked if the Honda has set a sales target for the all new CR-V, which would now also come with a diesel powertrain, Nakanishi said Honda has “very high aspirations” from the model.
“We are looking at many many more numbers as compared to the outgoing model,” he said without sharing any sales target.
The company has sold over 17,500 units of petrol powered CR-V units till date in the country.
With majority of sales in the premium segment coming from diesel variants, Honda is set to benefit by introducing a diesel version, Goel said.
Currently, the premium SUV segment in the country is dominated by the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour.
Honda will assemble the new CR-V at its Greater Noida facility. Both petrol and diesel versions of the model will feature automatic transmissions only.
While the petrol variants would deliver a power output of 154 PS, the nine-speed diesel automatic versions would come with 120 PS of power.
The company, which plans to launch three new products during the current fiscal, has already introduced new Amaze earlier this year.
When asked about sales growth expectations for the current fiscal, Goel said, “Until now the market growth has been around nine per cent and Honda has grown similarly. We aspire to grow better than the industry”.
Last fiscal the company sold a total of 1.72 lakh units, a growth of 8 per cent over 2016-17.
In the current fiscal, (April-August) period, HCIL has sold 79,599 units, up 9 per cent from 73,012 units in the corresponding period of previous fiscal. (PTI)