Its “back to the City” for Honda in China

Japanese auto major Honda Motors, at a recent motor show in the Chinese province of Guangzhou, has launched a new model and a sub-brand for the Chinese market, Li Nian (dubbed as Everus in English) a brand which is owned by Honda’s JV partner. The company showcased the S1 model, it’s new offering. The car is a restructured older generation of the hit City, the model is based on an existing platform of Honda Jazz and is expected to be equipped with an engine of 1.3 or 1.5 liter petrol. The latest offering has been developed and designed by the Chinese division of Honda Motors, Guangqi Honda. The Chinese arm of the Japanese car maker expects to sell this new model to the tune of 30,000-50,000 units in this year alone. Yao Yiming, Vice-president of Guangqui Honda was quoted as saying that it has been a fantasy of every indigenous Chinese automobile manufacturer to produce a car which is self-branded. Guangqui Honda also manufactures the Jazz, Odyssey, Accord and now the City. Honda is upbeat about its sales prospect in the world’s most populous country. Expected sales from the Chinese market are billed at around 730,000 units in the current year which is a 12 percent rise from the figures of 2011.

A key question that has got automobiles pundits thinking over-time is whether Honda Motors will launch the Li Nian in India, with a desi name of course, as the model is built upon a well-known car in the Indian market place, the Honda Jazz. This implies that having an already existing platform will make the manufacturing of the car a lot easier and affordable. Honda would also be in a good position to position the car against Toyota’s Etios, this will be enabled by the fact that it is China-developed and designed and sourcing kit from China would be a competitive advantage for the car maker. Honda motors have not been known to lead a price-war but it is famed to provide value in other aspects.

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