Honda to launch Mobilio in July
Notwithstanding the slowdown in the market, Japanese car maker Honda Motors will be launching its multi-utility passenger vehicle (MPV) Mobilio, first showcased at the Auto Expo 2014 in February, in India this July.
Based on the successful Brio platform, the company is hopeful that the 7-seater vehicle will help boost the MPV segment.
"The Honda Mobilio will be launched in July 2014," confirmed Honda Cars India Ltd. Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) Jnaneswar Sen. Asked about the pricing of the vehicle, he told The Hindu that "It is still early to talk about the pricing of the car. All I can say we are concentrating on making it a compelling and attractive package." He expressed confidence that "the launch of the Mobilio will revive the MPV segment".
Amid the sluggish automobile market in the country, the MPV segment too has shown a decline of 15 per cent in the past financial year. Sales of Toyota Innova, which has dominated the segment for sometime now, nosedived 28 per cent, while sales of Maruti Suzuki's Ertiga slipped 22 per cent.
About the opportunities in the segment, Mr. Sen said, "If we consider the current market size and the players that are there, the MPV segment adds up to between 10,000 and 12,000 units a month, so a year's volume is about 1.5 lakh units, and that's not a small segment." He added that the segment grew very well a year ago and the decline in the last financial year (2013-14) was actually in line with the industry de-growth.
The company, which sells products such as Odyssey and Freed under this category globally, said with Mobilio they "are looking at the car as a personal vehicle for large Indian families rather than a commercial vehicle." "We expect that Mobilio will appeal not only to MPV segment customers who generally have large families but also to families which have traditionally opted for a sedan or an SUV... Styling is one thing consumers are looking for in this segment and we believe we have delivered on this front with the Mobilio," Mr. Sen added.
Mobilio will be available in petrol and diesel variants. Honda till now has been able to buck the declining sales trend in the automobile industry in the country on the back of recently launched successful models -- Amaze and the new City. Besides Mobilio, the car maker would be launching the all new Jazz later in this fiscal year, Mr. Sen added.