Honda targets fast-growing midsize SUV market with new Elevate

New Honda Elevate, which is designed for the Indian and ASEAN markets, will rival the likes of the Hyundai Creta which dominates the midsize SUV segment in India.

By Mayank Dhingra and Ketan Thakkar calendar 06 Jun 2023 Views icon12141 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Honda's Indian arm Honda Cars India (HCIL) today unveiled a brand-new product — the Honda Elevate — for the domestic market. The midsize SUV, which has been jointly designed by Honda's R&D centres in India and Thailand, has been specifically developed for the Indian and ASEAN markets.

In India, the Elevate will be positioned in the highly competitive midsize SUV segment, which has registered significant growth in the past few years to now comprise 22 percent of all passenger vehicle sales in the country. Honda's latest midsize SUV will rival the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyrder, Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun, and aims to attract buyers towards its unique propositions.

L-R: Kunal Behl, VP, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India; Takuya Tsumura, President & CEO, Honda Cars India; Toshio Kuwahara, Head of Regional Unit (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co, and President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co; Munetsugu Kaneko – Large Project Leader, Honda Elevate, Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co and Yuichi Murata, Director – Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India.

The 4.3-metre-long Elevate is based on the Honda City sedan platform, and gets a slightly elongated wheelbase, which stands at 2,650mm, while wearing a crossover-styled top hat, and boasting of a segment-leading 220mm ground clearance. The five-seat SUV gets automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a single-pane sunroof.

Elevate comes equipped with the Honda Sensing ADAS suite that offers active safety features such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

While it gets all-LED head- and tail-lamps, the Honda Elevate comes equipped with Honda Sensing ADAS features such as collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and auto high beam. In terms of passive safety systems, the Elevate will offer rear-seatbelt reminder, emergency stop signal and ESC.

The Elevate comes equipped with Honda's advanced compatibility engineering (ACE) body structure that uses high-tensile-strength steel for enhanced structural rigidity, while also getting a connected C-and-D-pillar design for better force transmission during a crash.

No strong hybrid but Elevate EV in the works

The Honda Elevate will come powered by Honda's 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated, DOHC petrol engine that produces 121hp and 145Nm of peak torque. The engine will come mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT option. Honda will not bring its strong-hybrid powertrain to the Elevate and rather introduce a battery-electric version in the next three years.

The company has already started development of the Elevate BEV and says its strategy will be in line with Honda's global strategy of achieving two-thirds of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2030, and switching completely to electrics and FCEVs by 2040.

According to Toshio Kuwahara, Head of Regional Unit, Asia and Oceania, Honda Motor Company, "India is the third-largest automotive market in the world and is a significant contributor to Honda's global sales volumes. India has also become one of the most important export hubs globally for Honda. Honda's exports from India were pegged at 20 percent of its total production in FY23."

"With our vision for carbon neutrality and zero fatalities, we will completely switch to selling EVs and FCEVs by 2040 around the world, including India, and increasingly offer the Honda Sensing safety technology suite," he added.

According to Takuya Tsumura, President and CEO, HCIL, "Backed by strong and positive sales momentum for Honda City, HCIL registered a seven percent year-on-year growth in FY23. It also marked our highest-ever exports to the Middle-East, South Africa, Turkey and Mexico markets.

"The Elevate will soon become our third pillar of strength in our Indian portfolio after the Amaza and City. It has been developed as a global model to meet the growing demand for SUVs around the world, and India being the lead market, we have huge potential for exporting the Elevate to overseas markets," Tsumura added.

Five new SUVs by 2030

Tsumura said that HCIL has acknowledged the growing trend of SUVs in the Indian market, and therefore, the company will introduce five new SUVs, including the Elevate, into its Indian portfolio by 2030. With EV sales continuously growing in India, Tsumura added, "We aim to introduce a battery-electric vehicle based on the Elevate in the next three years."

While the Elevate is still undergoing homologation, Honda Cars India is hopeful of registering up to 35 percent year-on-year growth in H2 FY24 (October 2023 to March 2024) volumes with the arrival of its latest SUV in the Indian market around the festive season later this year.

Honda Cars India to launch five SUVs by 2030, to bring in Elevate EV in three years

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