Honda a car company well known for its efficiency and aerodynamics. Since last few years Honda’s position in market has changed. Once a company furnishing all the segment with no mass market cars now exists only in one segment. So how did it happen? Let’s find it out!
Indian car market then and now.
Let’s go back to years of 2005-2007, when no new companies like Renault, Nissan were there and no giant companies Toyota, Honda were trying their hands with mass market cars. At that time Indian automobile market was not getting much attention. Premium brands like Audi, BMW were just on the start of their Indian operation. Honda in those days was considered as premium car of upper class people. Even without having diesel model cars and without big SUVs Honda was doing good. Honda’s Taarzan lookalike City was segment leader in C class sedan. Civic ruled the executive class or D class sedan and Accord was synonym of S class sedan and CR-V was a reliable SUV of that time. Although Honda didn’t had much of the market share yet it was present in all the premium segments of India with petrol only models.
Since then Indian car market changed a lot, the most significant change was the shift from sedan to SUVs. Indian customer become more inclined towards SUVs. With the launch of Renault Duster, Indian D-Class sedan segment got affected badly. Mahindra followed the same path and came up with XUV500, a car that changed the image of Tractor manufacturer. Nissan, Maruti and Hyundai also came with Terrano, Vitara Brezza and Creta respectively.
Compact was new buzzword in Indian car market sometimes back and the entire new segment came to existence called compact sedans. Cars like Maruti Suzuki Swift Dezire defined this segment. While other brands followed the footsteps of Maruti Suzuki. However Swift Dezire always remained the segment leader. Honda did tried Amaze but it had its setbacks which we will go thru in next section.
Another major shift was observed was in luxury cars, with brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Volvo’s entry each of these brand understood the value of emerging Indian Car Market. So all these companies started manufacturing in India making cars from these brands more affordable. BMW’s X1, Audi A3, BMW Series1, Mercedes A class made debuts in India and these brands become a status symbol in India.
What went wrong?
Since the introduction of new companies in Indian market and premium companies trying their hands with mass market cars things got changed. Volkswagen entered with Polo, Ford entered with Figo, Toyota came up with Etios and Hyundai’s on going generations of I10, Honda also followed the same path and launched Brio and Amaze with Amaze being there first diesel car. With the entry of diesel Amaze did well but was not enough to give fight to the likes of Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. For some time in past Amaze did sold in good numbers but only because of its milage. However Amaze had most boring dashboard one can find on any car. While Honda’s was working for upgrade of Amaze other car brands did came up with more appealing compact sedans like New Generations of Swift Dezire, Ford Figo Aspire, Tata Zest, Hyundai Excent, Volkswagen Ameo and loose huge chunk of customers in that segment. Additionally compact segment also lost its charm later years because of quirky designs so Honda lost on that front as well and Amaze become just another car in dying segment.
With newly launched compact SUVs following in the same price range as Honda Civic and customers changed preference towards SUV forced Honda to discontinue Civic, once a leader now on the edge of extinction. However Honda also came up with Mobilio an MPV to compete against compact SUVs which also failed to find customers. Then the successor of Mobilio is BR-V again the same mistake