In bid to regain the lost ground in India's emerging car market, Japanese auto giant is planning to introduce new products, including SUV and bigger sedans, as well as add more features in future models.
Aware of the change in market dynamics with a big shift from A and B segments to premium side, the company is gearing up to meet the new demand in India.
"The market is changing. We are seeing a big shift from A, B categories to upper segment and that's why Maruti and Hyundai are also trying to move to the premium side. So, we are also carefully monitoring this segment movement," Honda Cars India President and CEO Yoichiro Ueno told PTI.
Besides, there is growth in the SUV segment so that's also a big change, he added.
Asked if the company plans to launch a new SUV model soon, Ueno said: "You can expect, yes," he said.
When asked if the model could be HR-V, he said: "It really depends on customers' voice. If there is a lot of demand or request, then we might look at it."
Admitting that the gap between products in different segments has not helped the company, Ueno said: "There is a lot of demand to upgrade from City to bigger cars and unfortunately, we don't have a bigger car... Especially the dealers are requesting. They don't want to lose these City customers to other brands."
Ueno added: "We are receiving a lot of request to reinforce the SUV market, we have CR-V but practically City is the flagship model."
When asked if the company plans to develop models specifically for Indian market, Ueno said: "At the moment, our strategy is to bring global models rather than exclusively develop for any specific market."
The shift in demand from diesel to petrol in India has also resulted in the company losing ground and it was late to adapt to the changes.
"Unfortunately, from end of last year to this year, there was mismatching of the inventory. Our inventory was not matching the market demand," he said.
However, by July this year, "dealer supplies normalised and so the situation is now coming back to normal".
In April-September this fiscal, the company's domestic sales were down 23 per cent at 74,855 units while its sales in September fell 18.77 per cent to 15,034 units.
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On Honda's current product line-up, Ueno said the BR-V is doing well and "it's on track" of the target set by the company. However it is not doing as well as some other brands. I think we might be able to increase sales".
He admitted that there is a mismatch in the company's product line-up and expectations of the customers.