It’s been a year since the all new 7th gen Honda City made its world debut in Thailand on the 25th of November 2019. And almost a year after its launch, the hatchback version of City made its debut on 24th November 2020, alongside the e:HEV hybrid sedan version was introduced in the Thai market.
The COVID-19 pandemic that shook the world in 2020 delayed the introduction of Honda City in other markets. It was supposed to be introduced in India in March 2020 but the launch was postponed due to coronavirus. The car was then introduced in India in July after a delay of 4 months. Then the introduction in Malaysian market also got a bit delayed due to lockdowns & the car was eventually launched in October. The City is set to reach other markets in following months.
Pakistan was once among the very first markets to receive a newer generation model of Honda City. The City SX8 that was launched in Pakistan in January 1997 had made its debut some 8 months ago in April 1996. Then the 4th generation City (iDSI) made its world debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show in November 2002 and was introduced in Pakistan after just 9 months in August 2003. The 5th generation City (iVTEC) was unveiled in Thailand in September 2008 and was launched just 4 months later in January 2009. But from there on, since Suzuki Liana was out of the race already and the City had literally no competition in the segment, Honda dragged the 5th gen for a prolonged period of time and continues with this generation even today despite the fact that it was already replaced by 6th generation elsewhere in 2014.
Furthermore, the newly introduced Toyota Yaris has emerged as a nightmare for Honda City, the sales of which are higher than the combined number of City & Civic. Why do we always have to glue Civic with City sales? This is because Pakistan is the only market in the world where Honda is shy to disclose the individual sales of City & Civic and instead present them as a combined figure to make them appear a bit decent.
Toyota Yaris in a similar price offers a lot of added features & equipment (compared to City), although its remains a fact that it’s certainly not the most pleasing vehicles around especially if you notice how much the company has lifted it up. But this is also something interesting that Toyota Yaris which normally seats at the tail end of the competition against the City in regional markets has been able to outsell Civic & City (combined) in Pakistan since last 2 consecutive months, with 4M-FY20-21 sales already higher than the Honda duo. Technically the City is up against a true rival in Pakistan after like 13 years since the downfall of Liana started in 2007/08.
Today the local 5th gen City, which is the most under-equipped cars on sale in Pakistan is about to compete 12 years of its production in the country, by far the longest span for any locally assembled Honda model. Plus the City is set to witness a new wave of competition as at least 5 more sedans are expected to be introduced in Pakistan in forthcoming months, 3 of which will be directly competing in the league of Honda City battling to get the title of cheapest new sedan in Pakistan.
Although there are unconfirmed reports regarding a possible replacement of the 5th gen City towards Q1, 2021 however nobody knows for sure whether it’s going to be the all new 7th gen model or the out-gone 6th generation that’s being retired from the rest of the world. But there is one more than we might want to get ourselves ready for… yet another Honda City facelift!