Honda planning to tap South Asian and South African auto markets through Indian-made cars

Wednesday 08 August 2012, 10:01 AM by

Honda Siel Cars, the Japan-based auto giant, is looking ahead to transform India into its production hub for South Asian region. From the country, the car maker will ship its ‘made-in-India’ premium vehicles to the auto markets of Africa and other overseas countries.

South Africa is counted among the largest international markets for the domestically produced right-hand driven cars, buses and trucks and thus, most of the Indian auto makers prefer to export their vehicles in same. Indian subsidiaries of car makers like Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motor and Mahindra & Mahindra are engaged in consigning their vehicles to the region.

Considering the approach followed by Honda, the auto maker has mainly established its manufacturing units all across the globe and follows a philosophy of manufacturing its cars in most of the major markets of the world. However, Honda is also now planning to export its much acclaimed City sedan and other vehicles to the South African auto market from its Indian facility.

Reportedly, the auto maker is looking over a number of alternatives to reap impressive returns and is planning to make most out of the cost competitive Indian market. The domestically produced vehicles of the company are anticipated to emerge as a substitute for its Thailand unit, which is presently meeting up with the demands of Honda City and other cars in South African and other international markets.

On this, a spokeswoman of Honda quoted, “We keep exploring new markets for growth opportunities. We currently export some models to the neighbouring markets like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. However, we do not have anything specific to share at this moment.”

In the present scenario, Honda India is not considered among the big exporting players of the Indian auto industry, wherein more than 5 lac cars are shipped every year. Bringing the export ranking in limelight, the top-most position is acquired by Hyundai, whereas the second spot is tilled to Maruti Suzuki and Nissan Motor being the third. On the part of Honda, the car maker just exports nearly 100 units of its City and other smaller cars to other sub-continent countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the company has expanded its product portfolio in the country, including a small car Brio and is also planning to mark its presence in other international markets of the world, apart from India.

Besides Brio hatchback, analysts are expecting a sedan version of the same from Honda’s stable, which is anticipated to sparkle at the Indian shores in a few couple of months. It is believed that the launch of Brio sedan will further help the company to carve its niche in the market. Commenting on the plans of introducing a new model, a Senior Executive with Honda said, “The new sedan would ideally be customised for the Indian market, but gradually also become a major part of the export strategy.”

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