The Honda Amaze,which launches on April 11,will look to wrest the crown of the most fuel-efficient car in India by delivering 25.8 km per litre of diesel. The current king is Chevrolet Beat diesel,which offers 25.44 kmpl.
For a few years,Honda’s car sales in India have floundered,largely because it had no diesel models. As it looks to gain back lost ground with the ‘Amaze’,its first diesel model in a market obsessed with getting the best value for money,how does it disrupt the market? By improving over the market leader,Maruti Suzuki Dzire,on all fronts.
In its class,the Amaze claims higher fuel efficiency,most interior and boot space,and the highest power packaged at an aggressive starting price expected just at above Rs 5 lakh. The cheapest car in the segment,though,the Tata Indigo CS at Rs 4.75 lakh,followed by Maruti Dzire at Rs 4.92 lakh,Mahindra Verito at Rs 5.26 lakh and Toyota Etios at Rs 5.45 lakh.
Incidentally,Amaze claims to have managed the feat with a bigger 1.5-litre diesel engine compared to Beat\’s 1-litre power plant. As for its diesel peers,the Maruti Dzire\’s 1.3-litre engine delivers 23.4 kmpl,Toyota Etios\’s smaller 1.4 litre engine gives 23.59 kmpl and Mahindra Verito offers a mileage of 21.03 kmpl. The Amaze petrol will have a mileage of 18 kmpl.
This (Amaze) is important because we will be able to expand business in Indian market and also set a new benchmark in the industry. Indians want to upgrade to sedans,which are seen as enhancing social status and safer cars for family. We are confident that Amaze and the new diesel engine will exceed customer expectations, said Shigeru Yamazaki,senior VP & director (sales & marketing) at Honda Cars India.
The Amaze will look to improve Honda\’s market share that had dipped over the few years due to unavailability of diesel engines and volume models,and production hassles after the tsunami in Japan. Sales had dipped 8.47% in FY12 at 54,427 units,but have improved this fiscal to 63,439 units (April-February) with the launch of the Brio hatchback,its first truly volume model.
The company claims that fuel efficiency will not come at the cost of power while the petrol variants share the 1.2-litre i-Vtec engine seen in Jazz and Brio,Amaze diesel\’s new 1.5-litre i-Dtec heart delivers 100 PS,which is sharply higher than the diesel variants of Maruti Dzire (75 PS) and Toyota Etios (68 PS). An automatic transmission will also be offered with the petrol variant.
The focus is on interiors as well,with the largest rear-seat space in class on offer. The boot,which has long been a problem with sub-4 metre compact sedans,has also been taken care of with a 400-litre capacity. A lot of work has gone into the development like making an all-new engine oil for the new diesel engine encouraging Honda to have high expectations from the Amaze. A new diesel engine plant has come up in time at Tapukara (Rajasthan),while Honda has also stopped production of both the Jazz and Civic models at its 1.2-lakh-units-a-year Greater Noida plant to free space for the Amaze.
We are now utilising around 70% of the production capacity,output being highest for Brio and City. We hope the remaining will be fully utilised by the Amaze,after which we will look to start the second car plant at Tapukara, Jnaneswar Sen,senior vice-president (sales and marketing),said.
Industry sources said with a diesel engine at hand,Honda may look to do monthly volumes of at least 5,000-6,000 for the Amaze. In comparison,the Maruti Dzire sells around 15,000 units a month,while the Toyota Etios sells around 3,000 units a month.