Honda plans small car to take on Maruti, Hyundai


Tapukara(Rajasthan) : Japanese auto major Honda today said it plans to take on the likes of Maruti's Swift and Hyundai's Getz Prime with its global small car developed with the Indian market in mind, even as it considers a USD-3,000 car as announced by Renault-Nissan 'out of range'.

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"Personally, I would be surprised… The USD-3,000 car is out of range," Honda Motor Co Chairman Fatoshi Aoki told reporters here, when asked about the company's view on Renault-Nissan announcement to launch USD-3,000 car in India.

He said the company would have to see if it would be a viable option to develop such a cheap car.

"We cannot just make a small car without Honda-like characteristics," Aoki said at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the second plant of its Indian subsidiary, Honda Siel Car India.

On the company's small car, Aoki said although its a global product, the company's priority would be to cater to the Indian market first.

HSCI President Masahiro Takedagawa said Honda's small car, which would be launched in 2009, would qualify for the excise duty benefits given to small cars with a length of four metres with an engine capacity of 1,200 cc for petrol and 1.500 cc for diesel.

"Definitely our aim with the small car is to qualify for the excise duty benefits," he said, while declining to disclose details.

This will pitch Honda's small car against the likes of Maruti Swift and Hyundai Getz, which are currently placed at the premium end of the hatchback segment, he said.