Late as it may be in entering the diesel segment in the Indian auto market, Honda is, however, leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the Honda Amaze, its entry level sedan, becomes a success.
The Honda Amaze was launched on Thursday at a starting price of Rs 4.99 lakh (petrol variant, ex-showroom, Delhi), while the top two variants, both automatics, cost Rs. 6.62 lakh and Rs. 7.5 lakh. The base diesel variant is priced at Rs. 5.99 lakh, while the top-end one costs Rs. 7.6 lakh.
Apart from readying a maintenance package, extended warranty schemes and exchange offers with the Honda Amaze, top executives of the company's Indian arm Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) even went on home visits of first-time buyers of the Brio to learn from their needs.
"The Honda Amaze is a critically important car for us. Not only that we are entering a new segment of entry level sedan, we are also introducing our first diesel engine here. It is a growing segment and this should help us grow," HCIL senior vice president (sales and marketing) Jnaneswar Sen told PTI.
Stressing on the importance to meet customer requirements, he said, "With Amaze, we are expecting a lot of first-time buyers. Our senior management people, even including our senior vice president and director Shigeru Yamazaki, are doing home visits of Brio buyers to understand their needs and learn from them."
Mr Sen further said the company expects a lot of self-driven customers for the Honda Amaze as compared to its other sedans, which are mostly chauffeur driven.
"Therefore, we are preparing for quick service, road-side assistance, maintenance package of two years or 40,000 km, extended warranty. We are ensuring that cost of maintenance is low," he said, adding HCIL would also have exchange offers for Amaze with old cars of any brand.
The Amaze qualifies for the excise duty benefit, enjoyed by small cars in India and directly takes on Maruti Suzuki's Swift DZiRE, which is the current undisputed segment leader.
At present, any car with a petrol engine capacity under 1,200 cc or diesel engine under 1,500 cc, but length shorter than four metres, attracts an excise duty of 12 per cent.
The car is based on the platform of its existing small car Brio, which was developed exclusively for the Asian markets.
The company had said it would locally produce the 1.5-litre diesel engines for the Amaze at its Tapukara plant in Rajasthan while the car will be rolled out from its Greater Noida plant.