Honda Cars keen to strengthen brand in India

In 2016-17, HCIL sold 1,57,313 units, about 18% less compared to the previous financial year sales.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Japanese auto major Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) is keen on sharpening its strategy and strengthening its brand as a ‘premium player’ across various segments prior to the expansion of automobile market it is expecting from 2020.

“It is important to grow volumes. However, the priority is to reinforce the brand. While the current market volume and growth is good, we believe real motorisation or real expansion of the market will be seen in the middle of 2020-2030,” Yoichiro Ueno, President and CEO, HCIL said on Friday. 

“Establishing the foundation for that period is more important than just chasing volumes,” he added.

Though the Japanese auto major is working towards establishing a 'premium' brand, it wants to retain its position in entry segment also where it has models such as Brio, Jazz and Amaze. In premium segment, Honda has vehicles such as City 2017 and WR-V.

Ueno further said that it was very much important to increase volumes and to maintain a specific level of share in the market, but the priority for them was figuring out ways to strengthen our brand.

HCIL expected a modest growth this FY, but confident that the growth would be better compared to the industry. 

In 2016-17, HCIL sold 1,57,313 units, witnessing a decline of about 18% as compared to the previous financial year. However, the company started the current fiscal on a positive note with a growth of 38.1% in April and is likely to maintain this momentum due to the good response it received for New Honda City and WR-V, which were launched in February and March, respectively. 

On the impact of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Ueno said we are still in a ‘wait and watch mode as the rates have not yet been finalised. The customers may also postpone their buying decisions until there is clarity on the new tax rates and their effect. 

Replying to a query on Honda’s plans for electric cars, he said that while the company worldwide was working on electric vehicles but it was a little too early to have a say about them in India as there was a need to put in place a proper infrastructure. In addition, the electric cars were quite expensive too.

“Honda is developing electric cars. However, we believe it is too early for India to talk about electric vehicles. One thing is infrastructure. And secondly the car price will be more than double (when compared to ordinary car),” he said.

The Dollar Business Bureau - May 27, 2017 12:00 IST