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'This will be the cheapest Honda anywhere in the world'

Last updated on: February 19, 2010 14:48 IST

'This will be the cheapest Honda anywhere in the world'

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Honda displayed a concept small car at the Auto Expo in January this year and is planning to launch it in India by 2011.

The Japanese car maker is paying lot of attention to detail while designing this car, which is yet unnamed.

Recently, Honda shipped saris to its plant in Japan and the designers and engineers at the plant observed sari clad women getting in and out of a hatchback number of times. The idea was to check how comfortable the car is for Indian women.

Not just this, Honda is also paying attention to the climate of the country before designing the new small car. The small car is expected to have a 1200 cc engine.

Honda had done a survey in 2007 to determine consumer behaviour in the country and the company has used the conclusions drawn from the survey to design the new small car.

For some time now, Honda has begun to move towards the concept of "man maximum, machine minimum" that will be evident in this new product.

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The new small car is likely to have all the necessary features expected from a Honda including airbags, ABS and G-CON body standards, which keep the integrity of the passenger cabin intact in an accident.

Honda's vice-president (marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said, "We surveyed 1,600 people during the recent Auto Expo on what they want from the new car. I can tell you that safety is not down the order."

Honda has decided to price the small car below Rs 500,000 to be able to compete with Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20.

"This will be the cheapest Honda anywhere in the world," says Honda director (marketing) Tatsuya Natsume.

The small car will have over 80 per cent local components to save on the cost of spare parts. By the time Honda brings out its small car the market would already have old players like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors and General Motors.

Not too far behind are scheduled launches by Volkswagen Polo, Ford Figo and Toyota Etios.

According to Sen, "It's still a small market, given the size of our population. We haven't hit the inflexion point. We should be there in another few years."

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