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 its entry level sedan Amaze becomes a success.
The Amaze is slated for launch next month.
Apart from readying maintenance package, extended warranty schemes and exchange offers with the Amaze, top executives of the company's Indian arm Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) are even doing home visits of first time buyers of the Brio to learn from their needs.
"The 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 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 entry level sedan Amaze qualifies for the excise duty benefit, enjoyed by small cars in India and will directly take 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.
HCIL will introduce the Amaze in both petrol and diesel options. It has already been launched in Thailand with a petrol engine only.
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.