Honda Cars India has recently stated that although the HR-V seems perfect for the compact SUV segment, the company is still studying the market
Compact SUVs are extremely popular in the Indian market, with cars like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos enjoying a brilliant sales momentum, even during the pandemic. Other manufacturers are racing to either update their existing compact SUVs, or adding a new one. Honda is currently one of the few carmakers that still doesn’t have a compact SUV in its lineup.
In a recent interview with Financial Express, Gaku Nakanishi, president and CEO of Honda Cars India, had stated that Honda is currently studying the market space, in order to better understand which product to launch in India. While the company already has a Creta-rival in its international arsenal, the brand has been careful with its approach towards the Indian market.
Gaku was quoted saying, “We recognise that the price cap between our two SUVs – the WR-V and the CR-V – is about Rs 20 lakh, so we need an SUV that fits into that space. Globally, we have the HR-V that appears to be the right fit. We are now studying that area, and going forward, we will decide how and when to enter the Indian [compact] SUV segment.”
Previously, the current-generation Honda HR-V was in consideration for an India launch. According to reports, the company wanted to assemble the vehicle in India, with a high percentage of localisation to reduce production costs. Sadly, Honda was only able to manage 30 per cent localisation, which would’ve made the HR-V more expensive compared to its rivals.
As such, the company later decided against launching the HR-V in India, but interestingly, test units were brought down earlier this year to Honda’s Rajasthan factory. It could be possible that Honda might have brought the test units for component testing, perhaps for a new engine or platform for the Indian market.
Another possibility could be that Honda might be planning to launch the next-generation HR-V in India. It wouldn’t be a very farfetched idea, considering that the next-gen SUV is slated for a global debut in May 2020. If RnD is already underway, Honda might be able to localise the HR-V to sustainable levels, and thus finally add a compact SUV to its range. If launched, the HR-V will compete against the likes of Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, Renault Duster, Nissan Kicks, and Maruti S-Cross.