Monday, August 18, 2008

Next gen honda city to come in september!!!

Honda is planning to change the rules of the sedan game with the launch of its next-generation City, the most popular mid-size car in India. The new City-2008, loaded with a host of jazzy features, will hit the market by mid-September. Sources, however, say that the new avatar will be pricier than the current version.

Honda’s largest selling car till date in India, City’s third new avatar will have a newly-designed and shaped G-CON structure sporting a toned new line-up of powertrain. As far as the new features are concerned, Honda is likely to introduce paddle shift gear option (where you don’t need to use the clutch pedal) on steering —a first in the segment—multi-airbags, integrated music system with steering mounted controls, anti-lock brake system (ABS), temperature control and electronically adjustable front seats.

Honda is looking at standardising such advanced features on all products. “We are looking at standardising the G-CON body, ABS, I-Vtec engines and few other technical features in all our future cars. It’s part our commitment to provide world-class products to the Indian market,” Honda Siel Cars India president and CEO Masahiro Takedagawa had told ET at the launch of 8th generation Accord in May this year.

When contacted by ET, the Honda spokesperson clarified that there are no such plans. “The so-called news of a new City is mere media speculation and we would not like to comment on it. The current Honda City is the only model available globally, and is doing very well in the Indian market. The Honda City ZX continues to maintain its leadership position in the premium sedan segment, even in the current slowdown,” the spokesperson said.

According to sources in the vendor industry, the local market launch will follow the City’s launch in Thailand, expected sometime in early September. The new City will be priced much higher than the current model and could be available in three-to-four trims at different price points carrying different configurations.

However, the competitively priced current City model will complement the new car for some time. “Honda is following a two-pronged strategy. It will continue to sell the current model, which will serve as its entry-level premium car, while the new City will cater to the upper premium sedan market,” said a vendor source. Honda has sold 2.3 lakh units of the current City model in India.

The new City will be pitted against the yet-to-be-launched Fiat Linea, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota’s new Corolla, which is also expected to hit the market soon. The new City is expected to reinforce Honda’s top slot in the 2.25-lakh mid-size car market in India.