Honda has sold over 7 lakh units of City sedan in our market between 1998 and 2017; India responsible for over 25 percent of its worldwide sales
For every manufacturer, there will be a special product that defined legacy and its presence in a particular country and for Honda Cars India though, it has certainly been the City sedan. Through the years, the City has won numerous accolades alongside banging in sheer volumes and Honda has decided to celebrate the 20 years of success in the market certainly in style.
The City has remained one of the evocative and longest running brands in India and it has been through four generations – all having their unique attributes. Seeing its early potential, Honda has been pushing hard with the City so much that the India has accounted for 25 percent of its overall sales. It is an instantly recognisable nameplate and has premium written all over it.
Credit where it is due, as Honda has managed to keep its essence in play through a massive 20 years. Each generation of Honda City has been an evolution and it often found ways to deliver the constantly changing requirements of the customers – a huge weapon in its arsenal.
Drove into the showrooms for the first time in 1998, the City brand – as a whole – was initially an unknown territory despite having rich history to back its notions in international markets. The original City went through five years in the market and was offered only as a petrol model – in fact both of its next two generations were.
Despite the then-untapped potential in the early parts of last decade and manufacturers just started to explore into the country, the first-gen City recorded 59,378 unit sales. In a bid to offer different choices to consumers, it was the first Honda vehicle in India to be sold with two engine options – a 1.3-litre and a 1.5-litre petrol.
By 2000, Honda realized the underlying craze for the City and started rolling out the iconic VTEC engine and it topped the JD Power Initial Quality Study the following year – as City remained the centerpiece of the survey till date. Three years later, the Japanese auto major began selling the rather unique second iteration of the City with its quirky shortened front end and a sporty face.
It went on to set new standards and managed to leap past its predecessor by achieving almost thrice its sales – 1,77,742 units were delivered to the customers in the space of next five years and contributed to Honda expanding its wings in India. It held another first for an Indian car as CVT transmission made its way into the market. Retailed with a 1.5-litre i-DSI petrol engine, it was practical, fun, spacious and efficient to win over hearts of the Indian buyers.
It received a major update in the middle of its lifespan as 2005 saw the ZX version with refreshed exterior and new 1.5-litre VTEC engine came into the act. Celebrating a decade of presence, Honda introduced anniversary edition equipped with ABS. A brand new City entered the foray in 2008 with a thoroughly overhauled exterior.
It marked the arrival of the i-VTEC petrol engine as well and was offered with ABS and airbags as standard fitment. It instantly rose to fame and was credited with Indian Car Of The Year award 2009. A couple of years later, Honda further upped its premium stature and fitted a segment-first Sunroof before touchscreen AVN and a CNG version stepped in.
It followed the lines of its previous generation but did one better in all the divisions as 1,92,939 units were sold in the space of five years. The latest fourth generation City is another revelation and despite competition increased in the segment, it has registered a massive 2,76,095 unit sales from 2014 till November 2017.
Honda observed the customers’ shift in preference to diesel engines and thus the fourth generation model became the first City to get a 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel powertrain in 2014 along with a new fuel-efficient CVT in the lineup. The current City is the sportier looking model of them all and provides comfortable ride quality with its unique fun-to-drive characteristics.
Primarily developed as an Asian model, the Honda City gained global prominence quickly and is present in 60 countries worldwide. With 3.6 million units and counting, the City has been the integral model in Honda expanding its dealership from 12 outlets in 11 cities to 349 outlets in 234 cities in twenty years.