Twin launches drive up Honda sales
Calcutta: Honda Cars India Limited (HCIL) closed 2017 with a growth of 19 per cent year-on-year despite government policy fluctuations and other factors dampening buyer sentiments.
"This has been possible because of the new models we introduced last year, the new generation Honda City in February 2017 and the WR-V in March," said Jnaneswar Sen, senior VP, marketing and sales, HCIL.
Talking of the government policies and its impact on the passenger car industry, Sen said: "Demonetisation had definitely impacted our sales in a negative way. After that came the GST which disrupted the market and then the compensatory cess in September further created uncertainty," said Sen.
In the GST, there was utter confusion in the market.
Some people were buying anticipating a price rise after the GST, some withheld their purchase anticipating a price drop.
"The small traders and businessmen, who are our customers were too busy grappling with GST implementation at that time to make any purchases," said Sen. "It was our new models, Honda City and the WR-V that sustained us," he added.
Commenting on 20 years of Honda in India, Sen said: "We entered the Indian market with the City. Since then four generations of the City have been the longest serving sedan in the country. Presently, it accounts for 25 per cent of the global sales."
Since its launch globally, 3.6 million City sedans have sold, out of which 7 lakh have been sold in India. Every new model has sold more than the previous one.
The first generation City sold 60,000 units, the second generation sold 1,78,000, the third generation 1,90,000 units and the fourth generation 2,76,000 units. The fourth generation is the first City that has both petrol and diesel powertrains.
"In the last 20 years, a lot of things has changed, competition is different, policies are different. We started out in 11 cities with 12 dealers, today we are in 234 cities with 348 dealers. While all our models, Accord, CR-V, Civic have sold well but since they are in a different segment, the volumes are less," said Sen.
Regarding the 2030 electric vehicle policy of the central government, Honda is preparing its EV strategy for the country.
There are several angles to this policy, said the marketing head of Honda Cars.
"Customers must be lured to buy, there is the issue of infrastructure and the availability of electricity for such mass-scale charging," he said.