Notwithstanding the slowdown in the market, Japanese automaker Honda Motors will be introducing its MPV (multi-utility passenger vehicle) Mobilio, initially showcased at the Auto Expo this year, in India this July. Based on the successful Brio platform, Honda is hopeful that the seven-seater vehicle will help boost the MPV segment.
Jnaneswar Sen Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) at Honda Cars India Limited said: “The Honda Mobilio will be introduced in July this year.” “Asked about the pricing of the vehicle, he said “It is still early to talk about the pricing of the car. All I can say we are focusing on making it an attractive and compelling package. He expressed confidence that “the introduction of Mobilio will revive the MPV segment.”
Amid the sluggish automotive market in India, the MPV segment too has shown a decline of 15% in the past financial year. Sales of Toyota Innova that has dominated the segment for some time now, nosedived 28%, whereas Maruti Suzuki Ertiga’s sales slipped 22%.
About the opportunities in the segment, Mr. Sen said: “If we consider the current market size and the players that are there, the MPV segment adds up to between 10,000 and 12,000 units a month, so a year’s volume is about 1.5 lakh units, and that’s not a small segment.” He said that the segment grew very well a year ago and the decline in the last financial year (2013-14) was actually in line with the industry de-growth.”
Honda, which sells products such as Freed and Odyssey under this segment internationally, said with Mobilio they “are looking at the car as a personal vehicle for large Indian families instead of a commercial vehicle.” Mr. Sen said: “We expect that Mobilio will appeal not only to MPV segment customers who generally have large families, but also to families that have conventionally opted for an SUV or a sedan. Styling is one thing consumers are looking for in this class and we believe we have delivered on this front with the Mobilio.”
Mobilio will be offered in diesel and petrol versions. Honda till now has been able to buck the declining sales trend in the automotive industry in India on the back of recently launched successful models —the new City and Amaze. In addition to Mobilio, the automaker would be introducing the new Jazz later in this fiscal year, Mr. Sen said.