City e: Our first step towards HEV electric mobility: Honda Cars India CEO
City e: What are the offers on HEV?
India is an important market for Honda’s sedan segment and hence we are introducing the mainstream of the segment with e: HEV. It is a practical solution for Indian customers … If any customer wants to buy an electric car, he always has to worry about where to charge it, range anxiety etc. So there are two sophisticated highly efficient self-charging motors in this technology. And that is why this hybrid offers better fuel efficiency, especially when petrol prices are so high.
Therefore, customers can opt for a self-charged electric hybrid system with 40-45 percent higher mileage than a pure electric car. Other safety features include Lane Keep Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Auto Headlamp Beam and Road Departure Mitigation.
City Hybrid is your first step towards electric mobility in India? When do we expect a clean EV from Honda?
Our Global Head recently announced plans to launch 30 EV models by 2030 (worldwide) with an annual production volume of over two million units. He directed and also invested approximately $ 40 billion in EV space over the next 10 years. The goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 with Honda products.
Honda aims to sell two-thirds of its global sales by 2030 through electrified models such as hybrid fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs. And by 2040, our goal is to achieve 100 percent change in EVs and fuel cell vehicles worldwide … Honda is moving in that direction and if that happens, all the countries where Honda operates (including India) are studying the feasibility of offering something in every market.
So sure, Citi e: HEV is our first step, and we are studying what product is best for us at what time.
At one point Honda even brought in the Civic Hybrid, but the entire model was discontinued along with the C-RV. What is the reason for the delay in making Honda decisions? For example, you launch an SUV when everyone already has a share.
We are always studying the possibilities on which model to launch at which time. At a certain point our guess may be wrong, but now we think we are starting vehicles at the right time. For example, the SUV we are launching next year, I think it’s the right time for us even if competitors think it’s late. As Honda is a pioneer in some advanced technologies, we are releasing a best model to suit India.
For example, the Honda Amaze was launched specifically for Indian customers and it looks great by maintaining the number two position. So it may be right to tell you that we are late in most of the products, but whatever the product, it will be provided exclusively for Indian needs and we will make the SUV keeping in view what the Indian customer wants.
But, the market is becoming bigger and more competitive in every segment like City where many competitors like Skoda and Volkswagen are also looking for strong market share. So as a market leader in that segment, are you worried?
I think Citi is a sophisticated product and meets the demand of the customers. And, the new e: HEV City has been updated with more advanced technologies to keep up with competitors and we will continue to engage customers in the future as well. And, not only with the City, but also with other models like the Amaze and next year’s upcoming SUV.
We also grow better than the market every year … If the market grows by 10 per cent, we will grow beyond that. On the competitive side, I think it is better for us to have competition as customers get more options in the sedan segment. This also means that the shrunken sedan segment is probably going to grow and our market share will also increase.
Towards rules or policies, are you happy with Indian terms?
I think the rules should not come as a sudden decision. As in other countries, it should be at least two-three years in advance so that we can prepare ourselves, because it takes at least three years to make a product. Even in the case of a sudden change in the taxation sector, it is difficult for customers to find what is best for them. For example, if a regulation comes in January and there are some new changes again by July, it will be difficult to reach.
April 14, 2022