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New-look Accord in July

New Delhi, April 19: - The Indian subsidiary of Japanese auto maker, Honda Motor Co will launch a new version of its Accord model, priced between Rs 17-19 lakh, in the month of July.

Branded as ‘New Accord’, the new model would be available in two variants with the superior V6 engines — the 160 bhp, 2.4-litre engine and the more powerful 240 bhp with a 3.0-litre engine.

Sources said the interior-design of the car is “modern” and “sporty” and boasts of a CD changer along with leather upholstery.

“The ‘New Accord’ model looks trendy and is very different from the earlier conservative looks of the Accord model,” he said.

Asked, if the ‘New Accord’ would be imported as a completely built unit, the official replied in the negative. “There will be a higher level of localisation as compared with cars available in this segment,” said the official.

The other models available in the luxury car segment are General Motor’s Opel Vectra, Ford India’s Mondeo and Hyundai India’s Sonata.

Auto analysts said the introduction of the New Accord would help the automaker increase it’s market share in the premium car segment.

The Japanese firm’s Indian unit, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd (HSCI) — where Honda holds around 99 per cent equity and the rest by the Shriram family —currently manufactures three variants of the popular City model and the Accord.

The official said the current localisation content of these cars in around 70 per cent.

The firm also plans to introduce the international hot-selling 1.3-litre ‘Fit’ subcompact car, also known as the ‘Jazz’ in Europe with a sticker price of Rs 7-8 lakh.

For the financial year 2002-03 the auto maker had clocked higher sales. Car sales surged up by 22 per cent to 13,300 units from 10,920 units in the corresponding last financial 2001-02.

For the month of March, the auto maker had also reported higher sales volumes due to price cuts following the 8 per cent excise rate cut in the annual 2003-04 budget.

During the period, sales leapt up by 24 per cent to 1,968 units against 1,581 units in the corresponding month last fiscal.

Domestic sales of cars and utility vehicles combined were flat in 2001-02 financial but have risen around 6.4 per cent in 2002-03 on the back of price cuts and discounts.

Figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed car sales during the year rose to 541,738 units from 509,088 in the previous year.

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