Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan Limited (HACPL), were once considered as the pioneers to introduce and most frequent to update their models in Pakistan. Since the beginning, Honda Atlas was always ahead of the other two Japanese brands (Toyota & Suzuki) in terms of quality, technology and to timely update their products.
Honda maintained a tradition of introducing a new model or a facelift every three years. The first vehicle to roll off their assembly lines was the 5th gen Civic which was replaced with the 6th gen Civic within 3 years in 1996. Three years later 6th gen Civic facelift arrived in 1999, which was again replaced by the 7th gen Civic within three years in 2001. In 2004 the 7th gen facelift arrived and was replaced within three years by the 8th gen Civic in 2006.
Similarly the first City SX8 was launched in Pakistan in January 1997 and was updated with a facelift 3 years later in January 2000. Three years later in August 2003 the new 4th gen City iDSI was launched, and was updated with a facelift in 2006, maintaining the 3 year cycle. While on 31st January 2009 the City iDSI was replaced with the 5th gen City iVTEC.
Unfortunately after 2009, the company lost its tradition to bring upon timely changes & introducing worthy facelifts in Pakistan. The 8th gen Civic without a facelift was produced for nearly 7 years before being replaced by the 9th gen Civic in 2012. While the 5th generation City that was launched in 2009 continues to sell even today despite being almost a 9 year old car now. This surely dented their reputation and the company faced dismal sales because of which the combined sales figures of City & Civic are now being presented, instead of the individual sales figures of both the cars as before.
However since the introduction of 10th generation Civic and the BR-V, things have started to improve for HACPL. The company posted a net income of Rs 1.62 billion in the second quarter of 2017, up 10% compared with Rs 1.47 billion in the same period last year. Honda’s net sales grew 48% year-on-year due to strong volumetric growth in sales volumes during this period.
Since there is currently no competition in the class, Atlas is happy dragging the 5th gen City since ages, however there is some severe competition expected in our market within a couple of years, so it won’t be easy for Honda to compete with the decade old City.
Related: The City Has Become Honda’s Cultus
Hyundai, Kia, Datsun, FAW and a couple of other Chinese brands are expected to launch a range of vehicles in Pakistan by 2019. Keeping this in view, it won’t be easy for Honda to rely on a handful of models and must work on to diversify their product portfolio here. Although the recent inclusion of BR-V has paid off well, Honda might need to offer something cheaper than the City to capture a major market share.
The Honda Brio Hatchback & Amaze Sedan
The Brio hatchback or the Amaze subcompact sedan can be a good addition in Honda’s lineup. Both Brio & Amaze are based on same platform & powered by 1.2-litre i-VTEC engine producing 88bhp and 109Nm, with the rated fuel economy of 17.8 km/l, while the CVT variant (Amaze) has a fuel efficiency rating of 18.1 km/l.
These small Honda cars are available in India, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines and interestingly the Amaze sedan does reasonably well compared to its sibling, the Brio hatchback.
Instead of launching more expensive models such as the HR-V, CR-Z & CR-V which doesn’t contribute much to the sales, Honda should consider bringing in the likes of Brio & Amaze to secure good market share before the true competition arrives.
Do you think Honda should introduce the Brio/ Amaze in Pakistan, cast your vote below and let us know with your comments.