Honda closes Civic Hybrid special offer

Honda closes Civic Hybrid special offer

New Delhi: Honda Siel Cars India Ltd has closed the special price offer on the Civic Hybrid, a car that is powered both by petrol and batteries, as it received the number of orders it had targeted when the offer was announced, the company said on Monday.

The car maker received more than 1,100 enquiries and 235 bookings in the four days that the offer was valid. The deliveries will be made by the end of November.

Honda Siel, the Indian unit of Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co. Ltd, had, on 12 November, reduced the price of the car to Rs13.36 lakh in Delhi from the earlier Rs21.5 lakh, a drop of 37% bringing it almost on a par with the petrol version “so that (the) car becomes more affordable and more customers experience and own this new technology", the firm had said then.

The Civic Hybrid is imported from Honda’s facilities in Japan as a so-called CBU (completely built unit), which attracts an import duty of 104%. The time taken for it to be made and shipped to India upon order from the local unit here is five months.

Launched on 18 July, the Civic Hybrid had initially received an enthusiastic response. According to a press release on its website, the company shipped 52 cars to dealers in the first month.

Sales of the Civic Hybrid plateaued after that, even as its petrol version sold well.

In the next three months till 30 October, Honda Siel, a joint venture with New Delhi-based businessman Siddharth Shriram’s flagship firm, Siel Ltd, shipped only an additional 10 cars to dealers in India. Out of these 62 cars “only very few were retailed", the company said last week.

With the 235 bookings received, the firm has exhausted its inventory ordered almost five months ago, said Jnaneswar Sen, vice-president, marketing of Honda Siel.

No fresh arrivals are expected till end March, the company said in a statement, which means new buyers, even if they book on Tuesday, will have to wait. Sen told Mint that Honda Siel was yet to place orders for a new lot of the Civic Hybrid to replenish inventory.

When asked if the firm is expecting or would like to see a duty cut in next year’s Union budget announced end-February, he declined comment.

Honda Siel has consistently refused to term the Civic Hybrid price cut as an inventory-clearing exercise.

In the past, Honda has taken a hit on pricing when introducing a new car into markets elsewhere. In July, the company began leasing out its fuel cell car—the FCX Clarity—in California, US. The leasing charges “can in no manner compensate for the cost of the FCX", the company said in response to emailed questions.