Honda reveals all-new City, third shift kicks off at Noida plant
New Delhi, November 25, 2013: Honda has taken the wraps off the fourth-generation City midsize saloon, with the car’s launch confirmed for January 2014.
“The City is currently sold in 55 countries across the world and is Honda’s leading brand in Asia and Oceania region. With the fourth-generation City, we aim to raise its popularity further and make it a significant future model in Honda’s global portfolio which will be available in many more countries,” said Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, managing officer, Honda Motor Company and representative of Development, Purchasing and Production in Asia and Oceania region while unveiling the new City today.
The carmaker had discontinued production of the old City in October 2013, producing over 9,000 Amaze saloons and around 1,800 Brio hatchbacks from its Greater Noida plant of the total 13,200 units produced from two shifts during the month. Honda Cars India was producing around 440 cars a day from two shifts.
The third shift has kicked off from November and according to Hironori Kanayama, president and CEO of Honda Cars India, will enhance production capacity at the plant by 40 percent – 616 units a day. With the third shift going on stream, the waiting period for the popular Amaze will stand reduced to one month now from around 3-4 months.
The production figures for the City are yet to be finalised though Kanayama said that there is a possibility of the new City being exported based on country-specific demand for the car.
Thus far the Brio and the Amaze are being exported to Nepal and South Africa and Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice- president, marketing and sales, expressed optimism of tapping new markets around South Africa through the South African region.
The new City (Code: 2CT) meanwhile will be on offer in both diesel and petrol options. After the runaway success of the diesel-engined Amaze that accounts for 70 percent of the Amaze sales, a similar response is expected for the diesel-engined City.
The 1.5-litre diesel in the City is Honda’s new made-for-India engine based on the carmaker’s Earth Dreams technology as seen on the Amaze saloon, but is more fuel efficient and refined. The 1.5-litre petrol engine has also been tuned for better fuel efficiency and comes with a plastic intake manifold for weight reduction.
The car boasts a 24 percent improvement in structural rigidity as compared to the old car. There are new MacPherson struts for the front suspension, while the rear gets an H-shape twist-beam suspension. Honda also claims that the brakes have been tuned to provide better feel.
In terms of equipment, the new City comes with a five-inch LCD display, with in-built hands-free telephony, steering-mounted audio controls, and an eight-speaker sound system with USB, MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity as standard, along with a total of four power outlets for the front and rear seats. The car now also gets rear air-con vents, touchscreen air-con controls, a sunroof and cruise control.
The new City is built on the same platform as the upcoming new-generation Jazz that is slated for launch next year. The Mobilio MPV will also roll out next year and Kanayama confirmed that both these models will be displayed at Auto Expo 2014 in February.
Honda has started accepting bookings for the new City but has not revealed prices as yet. Deliveries are expected to commence after the launch in January 2014.
Since the first-generation City was launched in India 15 years ago, the car has sold 430,000 units. The first- generation City, launched in 1998, sold 59,000 units; the second-generation City sold 178,000 units, while the third-generation City notched sales of 193,000 units.
Interestingly, the Amaze saloon has seen sales of over 50,000 units in less than eight months after its launch with Honda, which has sold 70,831 units in the April-October 2013 period, recording 62.74 percent percent over the same period in 2012.
“Both the diesel Amaze and the new City will provide a great opportunity to Honda to increase its presence in the passenger vehicle market over the next few years,” concluded Kanayama.
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