Honda SIEL plans export of cars to South Africa and South Asian markets
Honda SIEL has been stuck in the doldrums when it comes to car sales in the Indian car market as there has been a shift in consumer preference, overwhelingly so, from petrol engined cars to diesel engined cars. This has cost Honda dearly as the Japanese car maker does not have a single diesel engined car in its portfolio. Honda has had to resort to aggressive price cuts on the back of increased localization to boost its car sales, which after showing initial results, has not been able to give the automaker enough traction to regain marketshare.
While the well priced Brio hatchback continues to do good numbers, almost every other Honda car model in India is exhibiting a sales decline. The flagship City sedan, the versatile Jazz hatchback, the Civic sedan, the premium Accord saloon and the CR-V soft roader, have all showed big drop in sales numbers. So much so, that there have been rumors swirling around that it could be the end of the road for the Civic sedan in India, with Honda having no plans to launch a new model to replace the current version, even as the rest of the world has got the 2012 Civic.
While a diesel engined car model from Honda is quite likely in the next year or so given that the automaker has been spied testing a diesel variant of the Brio hatchback, a brand new export strategy could be what Honda might be looking at, in order to keep sales ticking until more diesel engined models arrive into its portfolio. South Africa and South Asian countries are said to be on Honda’s radar. Until now, Honda’s Thailand factory has been focusing on most of the exports while the Indian factory has been catering to domestic demand.
However, with sales in India falling, Honda plans to put the unused capacity to good use by exporting more cars from India as well. Other Japanese automakers like Suzuki, Nissan and Toyota have already been exporting cars from India, to countries across the world. With Honda contemplating of joining this league, it seems like the Indian auto manufacturing story of low cost-high quality products will only get a further fillip in the coming months. The next launch from Honda is expected to be the Brio Automatic, which could be launched during the Indian festive season of Dusshera-Diwali.