Source : PTI | Honda Cars India plans to introduce five sports utility vehicle in the country by 2030 as it looks to have a strong presence in the robustly growing segment, according to a top company executive. The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese auto major Honda Motor Company, on Monday made a foray into the mid-sized SUV segment with an all-new product — Elevate — priced between INR 10.99-15.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The model will compete with the likes of Hyundai Creta, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, Kia Seltos and Toyota’s Urban Cruiser Hyryder, among others.
“Our focus is now on the SUV segment. Starting from Elevate we are going to introduce five SUVs by 2030,” Honda Cars India President & CEO Takuya Tsumura told PTI in an interaction.
It is very important for the company to be in the SUV segment which has become the leading vertical in terms of volumes, he added.
The contribution of the SUV segment in the overall passenger vehicle sales in the country has risen to over 48% this year from 43% in FY23.
Honda sells City and Amaze sedans in the country.
With Elevate it expects to bring in a new set of customers to its fold. “We have been missing in the SUV segment, so the introduction of Elevate is a big day for us,” Tsumura said.
The mid-sized SUV holds the potential to become a key pillar of Honda’s business in India, offering remarkable value to the evolving customers, he added.
The company plans to bring a battery electric version of the model within next three years, Tsumura noted. Elaborating further, Honda Cars India VP (Marketing and Sales), Kunal Behl said the mid-sized SUV segment (over 4 meter in length) has witnessed a jump of 34 %in sales this year as compared with last year with average monthly sales now hovering around the 70,500-unit mark.
He noted that the company has received great response for Elevate after commencing bookings in July and the focus now is on the timely deliveries in the festive season.
“We are not targeting any specific number (in terms of sales) but till now after commencing bookings in July, without revealing the price we have got 5-6 months of waiting on certain trims,” Behl said.
So the current endeavour is to align production to meet the demand, he added.
Tsumura noted that the company has ramped up production capacity to 660 units a day at its Tapukara (Rajasthan) based manufacturing facility. The company is also planning to increase the production capacity in the future, he added.
When asked about the ship shortage issue, Tsumura noted that the situation is much better now and that the company has acquired required electronic components for Elevate in advance in order to meet the production plan.
The company also plans to export Elevate but first the focus is to cater to the pending orders in the domestic market, he added. The manual four variants of Elevate come with an introductory price ranging between INR 10.99 lakh and INR 14.9 lakh while the automatic trims are tagged between INR 13.2 lakh and INR 15.99 lakh.
The model is powered by a 1.5 litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed manual and a seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT). The manual and CVT trims come with a fuel efficiency of 15.31 kmpl, 16.92 kmpl respectively, as per the automaker.