KOLKATA: Honda is set to enter the compact sports utility segment with a made-in-India SUV that will take on rivals Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq, Volkswagen Taigun, Nissan Kicks and soon-to-be-launched MG Astor.
The Japanese automaker will also launch a hybrid car in the next financial year. Sources said it was likely to be a hybrid version of its popular sedan City.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the refreshed compact sedan Amaze, Honda Cars India (HCIL) senior vice-president and director (sales & marketing) Rajesh Goel confirmed the development of an India-specific SUV.
Announcing the development of a brand new SUV to plug the gap in its India portfolio, Goel conceded that though Honda had positioned the WR-V crossover as an SUV, customers do not view it to be one. CR-V, its most popular SUV globally, had been withdrawn from the Indian market.
With SUVs comprising 32% of the overall car sales, its absence in the Honda line-up has been hurting the company for a while. Honda also does not have a hatchback and is primarily dependent on sedans City and Amaze that account for 50% and 30% of its sales respectively. WR-V at 12% and Jazz at 8% make up the rest.
In the pandemic-hit 2019, Honda sold 70,593 units, down from 1,02,016 units it sold in 2020. In the first half of this year, HCIL has sold 43,617 units.
Goel said the company hoped to achieve a double digit growth with the launch of the refreshed Amaze. “We will also increase the plant capacity utilisation from 30% to 70% through exports, including City for left hand drive markets as well,” he said,
Honda would bring in a hybrid next year, a precursor to the introduction of electric vehicles, Goel added. Though he did not elaborate, sources said a hybrid variant of the City would be launched by the company next year.



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