Honda Siel targets two-fold increase in customers in 5 years

Tuesday 29 May 2012, 23:59 PM by

According to a senior official at Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), the car maker aims to double its customer base in the country to one million people over the next five years. President and Chief Executive Officer, Honda Siel Cars India, Hironori Kanayama, said that models like City and Brio would be the main growth drivers for the company's growth here. "We have got ambitious business plan for the Indian car business and we want to be the number one in the country," he stated.

Kanayama also said, "India is one of the most dynamic markets and has huge potential for growth. I want to increase the number of total customers from current five lacs to a million in the next five years." As per a survey by JD Power and Associates, in terms of customer satisfaction, Honda cars have performed consistently, next only to Maruti Suzuki India.

According to three people on the inside, since the petrol price hike is expected to affect the sales of petrol models, the car maker may launch its first diesel vehicle in India in 2013. As per dealers, the diesel variant of its small car Brio and a Brio sedan (codenamed 2TP) will be launched in first half of next year, followed by diesel model of City in October. Speculated to be unveiled at the 2014 Auto Expo, the next generation of the hatchback Jazz may get a diesel unit as well. These upcoming cars are expected to feature 1.2 litre or 1.5 litre powertrains.

One of the abovementioned sources said, "The earlier plan was to bring in the diesel cars by 2014, but with the widening disparity in petrol and diesel prices, the company is compelled to push harder to bring in its diesel cars earlier."

Denying all the speculations about the change in plans of the company, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Honda Siel, said, "These are mere media speculations." He further added, "Our R&D team is currently developing a diesel engine, however, no decision has been taken about the models in which it would be introduced or the timelines thereof."

Marking a decline of 8.46 per cent, the company sold 54,427 models in the FY 2011-12. This represented a good start for the year 2012 as the company lost production in last fiscal due to a tsunami in Japan and floods in Bangkok. Between January and April this year, Honda Siel has already sold 28,731 cars which is a 71 per cent growth over the same period last year, owing to the success of its Brio. However, according to experts, if the company has to grow, it will have to produce diesel cars, which are in demand in India nowadays.

In spite of the unfriendly conditions, Honda is hoping to sell 1.2 lac models in this fiscal, thus doubling the sales. In order to back its new products and capacities in India, the automotive giant is planning to invest more than Rs. 3,000 crores. According to people who know about the company's plans, these funds will be invested in setting up production facility at Tapakura in Rajasthan. Along with that, the car maker also plans to establish a components and diesel engine plant. Further, the company will need to invest a huge sum as it gears up to launch six new cars, which includes also re-launches.