Honda Cars India Limited has recently stated that the company will continue with its plans for India, regardless of the market slowdown
With the next-generation Honda City launched in India, the Japanese car giant will be focussing its efforts on electrifying its range, starting with a new hybrid vehicle for India. Unlike South Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia, Honda won’t be focussing on battery-powered EVs, due to the lacking infrastructure in our country and low EV sales volume.
The company has stated that it’s expecting a rise in consumer demand by the end of this fiscal year. Even with such a slow expected recovery, Honda will review all its investments planned for the near future, which includes the introduction of hybrid EVs in India.
Gaku Nakanishi, president and CEO of Honda Cars India recently said “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 a 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.”
Currently, the Indian automobile market is going a heavy slowdown, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Honda has been one of the most affected carmakers in India, with an 86.44 per cent sales decline on a Year-on-Year basis. The company was only able to retail 1,398 units in June 2020, compared to 10,314 units during the same month last year.
With recovery seeming slow and far away, it would be a smarter choice to prepare for the future rather than worry about the present. While there are no detail’s available about the upcoming hybrid powertrain Honda will be introducing in India, we speculate it would be similar to the on the next-generation Honda Fit, which was launched earlier this year in Japan.
The 2020 Honda Fit is available with a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, paired to an eCVT and two electric motors. The maximum power is rated at 109 hp and peak torque is 253 Nm. This 1.5L i-VTEC is the DOHC ‘Earth Dreams’ engine, the same one that does duty in the new-generation Honda City in India. Also, this would make the new Honda City the perfect vehicle to introduce this new petrol-hybrid powertrain, with the electrification of other cars expected to follow later.