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Mr. Gaku Nakanishi, President & CEO, Honda Cars India and Mr. Rajesh Goel, Sr. Vice President & Director, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India Ltd, on the launch of All-New 5th Generation Honda City
Mr. Gaku Nakanishi, President & CEO, Honda Cars India and Mr. Rajesh Goel, Sr. Vice President & Director, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India Ltd, on the launch of All-New 5th Generation Honda City

Honda Cars India CEO expects demand to revive in Jan – March quarter

Honda Cars India will roll out its first hybrid electric car in India in 2021 and will not delay the introduction of its electrification plans due to the adverse impact of the current slowdown on business

Honda Cars India Ltd – the local unit of Japan’s Honda Motor Company - is expecting demand in the domestic market to revive from the January to March quarter of this fiscal year. The company though, will not put any of the product related investments on hold but will review other investments planned during the year.

Hence, the Japanese car maker will roll out its first hybrid electric car in India in 2021 and will not delay the introduction of its electrification plans due to the adverse impact of the current slowdown on business.

According to Gaku Nakanishi, president and chief executive, Honda Cars India, sales during the first quarter of the fiscal was down but in the second quarter the company has seen some recovery.

“In June our sales was almost 60% compared to the last year and this kind of decline in sales will continue till the end of this year (calendar year). In the January to March quarter the sales are expected to be as good as the corresponding period," added Nakanishi.

“Before and after the Coronovirus, our investment plans are severely watched. Regarding investments on products we don’t have any change but we keep evaluating if any of our investments are necessary or not and that will not change before or after the pandemic."

Japanese companies like Honda and Toyota have put their money in hybrid electric technology compared to the Koreans and European competitors, who are focused on developing battery electric vehicles. As part of its electrification strategy, Honda is expected to launch its first hybrid electric vehicle next year.

“There will be no change in our hybrid vehicle plan. Two years ago we shared the electrification strategy and we are going to start the production and sales of hybrid vehicle next year. Internally, to launch a new model we have to plan almost 5 years ahead and we have almost spent 3-4 years. At the moment we don’t have any plans to postpone the project," said Nakanishi.

The covid-19 crisis has added to the woes of India’s auto sector, which has been battling headwinds like a liquidity squeeze and decline in consumption demand over the last year and half, which has impacted sales across categories.

According to ratings agency ICRA, sales of passenger vehicles will decline in the rage of 22% to 25% in FY 21 compared to 10-15% expected in the first phase of the lockdown.

“Some customers don’t want to use public transport and demand for entry level and affordable cars will increase and our Amaze will be a key model but now we are focusing on used car sales as well," Nakanishi said.

Honda Cars India Ltd – a subsidiary of Japan’s Honda Motor Company - on Wednesday announced the launch of the fifth generation, City, a mid-size sedan, within a price range of 10.89 lakh to 14.64 lakh. The new vehicle will come with 1.5 litre petrol and diesel engines and will be available in five colour options.

Honda launched the first generation of the City sedan as its first product in the Indian market and ever since the vehicle has been the best selling product of the company over the last two decades.

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