In a competitive marketplace like India, a successful product works wonders for a company. That’s just what the WR-V crossover has done for Honda Cars India. Launched on March 16, 2017, the Jazz-based crossover has brought the buzz and consumer footfalls back into the Japanese carmaker’s showrooms across the country.
In July, barely five months since its launch, the WR-V crossover has overtaken the company’s long-standing sales topper – the City sedan – and also helped double the carmaker’s UV market share in Q1 FY2018.
Above: L-R: Yoichiro Ueno, president and CEO, Honda Cars India, Noriake Abe, chief operating officer, Regional Operations (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co, and Raman Kumar Sharma, VP, Honda Cars India at the WR-V launch in New Delhi on March 16.
Last month saw the WR-V being bought by 4,894 new car buyers, making it the new bestseller for the carmaker in India. In comparison, the City went home to 4,854 buyers. Together with sales from other Honda cars and SUVs, the company’s cumulative monthly sales in July 2017 grew by a significant 22 percent, clocking 17,085 units (July 2016: 14,033).
While the sales margin between the WR-V and the City is only 40 units, importantly, the crossover has been witnessing strong consumer interest, selling a cumulative 19,050 units until the end of July. This is thanks to some features which have proved to be a hit with buyers, the sunroof being on top of the list.
The WR-V notched its first milestone when it drove into Top 5 UV list in June, selling 4,243 units, helping increase the company’s UV share to 6.60 percent in Q1 FY2018, almost doubling it from previous year’s 3.84 percent in the same quarter.
What has helped the WR-V’s drive in India is the surging demand for SUVs and the Rs 10,000-odd GST-driven price reduction. Foreseeing increased demand for the model, Honda Cars India has increased supplies of the WR-V to its dealers which has led to smooth deliveries across the country.
The WR-V, which took four years of development time, was the first model developmental project by Honda's India 120-engineer-strong R&D team which includes 40 Japanese engineers. The move for increased engagement of the India team seems to have clicked because demand for the vehicle continues to soar. Honda’s model portfolio, except for its best-seller City, hasn't been performing as per expectations. The WR-V seems to have put the wind back into the company’s sails. The 'W' in W-RV stands for ‘winsome’. From its performance over five months, it looks like the WR-V has already charmed car buyers in India.
Honda Cars India has been maintaining a strong sales momentum in the current fiscal year and has sold 55,647 units during the April- July 2017 period with a cumulative growth of over 21 percent (April-July 2016: 45,880). In Q1, FY2018 it had a PV market share of 5.30 percent, up from 4.57 percent a year ago.