Five factors that may help Honda Elevate SUV change company's fortunes in India
The Honda Elevate SUV was showcased to India and the world recently amid munch fanfare. The Elevate is the most crucial unveil from Honda Cars India in several years and comes at a time when the company has been balancing its act on the shoulders of just two models - City and Amaze. The sedan space may be shrinking but the SUV segment and sub-segments are gaining in strength with passing time. And this is where the Elevate would hope to elevate fortunes of the Japanese brand.
Honda Cars India was established way back in 1995 as a joint venture called Honda Siel Cars India. Its first manufacturing facility - in Greater Noida - began operations in 1998. This was a time when sedans ruled global roads and only a handful of car models existed for interested buyers in India. Little wonder then that the first-generation Honda City was quite the status symbol. Subsequent years saw the introduction of a number of new models as well as updated ones, including the likes of Accord (2000) CR-V (2003), Civic (2006), Jazz (2009), Brio (2011), Mobilio (2014), BR-V (2016) and WR-V (2017). Interestingly, none of these models exist in the portfolio today.
Honda cars are popular because of a solid build and an even more solid engine. But the company may have now realised that these factors alone won't help in dominating the field of play. Priorities and preferences evolve, and the Elevate SUV now - and finally - gives the company a chance to compete strong. And possibly stronger than ever before.
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Here are five reasons why Elevate SUV could potentially change the fortunes for Honda Cars India:
Entering the booming SUV segment
The trigger for the exponential rise in demand for a mid-sized SUV came from Hyundai Creta when it was first launched in July of 2015. The Creta continues to be a formidable leader in its space. Ten months later, Honda brought in the BR-V and marketed it as an SUV. But for all its strengths, the BR-V was quite a bare offering and devoid of magnetic or dominating looks.
Also Read : Hyundai Creta vs Honda Elevate - spec comparison
While BR-V was sacked from lineup in 2020, the Elevate has the potential to tick all the boxes its ancestor just couldn't. The Elevate has clear SUV proportions and styling, complete with a ground clearance of 220 mm. A big front grille and a aesthetically boxy shape is likely to work in its favour. And the design and styling has to work big time in order for the SUV to be popular among customers here.
Diversifying product lineup
Honda could not have expected models like City and Amaze - good as each may be - to carry it forward at a time when sedans are losing ground. The share of sedans in overall car sales in the country is rather insignificant. And the company does not even have a small car to rely on. As such, diversifying its product lineup with an SUV like Elevate could bolster prospects.
Confluence of technology
Honda is loved for many reasons but hardly for pampering customers with features galore. This is where the Honda Elevate is looking at taking a different path. It gets Honda Sensing technology which is the company's version of ADAS. But while Honda Sensing is also available on the latest City, Elevate also gets a 10.25-inch main display screen, the largest in any Honda model in India. There is a seven-inch drive display screen, telematics, sunroof and a host of other features.
Space and comfort
Honda is underlining that while special attention has been given to the styling of and feature additions to the Elevate SUV, there is also the crucial factor of a cabin that is claimed to be spacious. The Elevate has a 30 mm wheelbase advantage over Creta which ought to translate into more rear-seat space.
An India-first product for the world
Honda Elevate will touch down on Indian shores before anywhere in the world. The company has also confirmed that India will serve as a base for exporting Elevate to foreign markets at a future date. And then there is an all-electric version of Elevate that has also been confirmed for the Indian market. All of this could underline just how serious the company is about the Indian market. And this usually invokes customer confidence.
Bookings for Honda Elevate will open in July and price launch will be around the festive season. Absolutely initial reception for the product has been on the positive side but Honda isn't known to be extremely aggressive with pricing. But if the company does manage to undercut some or all of Elevate's rivals in terms of pricing - again, unlikely as it may be, this product could be a match-winner despite coming in to play late into the innings.