Honda Accord has been the flagship sedan for the company in India. Honda has taken a practical decision to phase out the Accord since the sales of the model have been meagre and ever dwindling. The Japanese carmaker will instead focus on mass segment products to become a stronger player in the Indian market. However, the Accord fans in India need not feel perturbed since the Japanese automaker is planning to introduce the ninth generation Honda Accord in India though the exact details are yet to be finalised.
Honda has just sold 272 units of the Accord in the first eight months of the current fiscal year and has not been able to sell even a single unit in the month of November. The company has globally sold 11,492 units of the eighth generation Accord since its launch in the summer of 2008. Absence of a diesel engine and access to premium cars by Mercedes-Benz and BMW at similar price points have resulted in sluggish demand for the Accord. However, Honda is focusing on models like the Brio and the Amaze since these cars are generating high volume sales in India. The company earlier phased-out the Civic from India since it couldn’t keep up with competitors like the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and the Toyota Corolla Altis due to the lack of a diesel engine.
The premium SUV Honda CR-V is sold at prices ranging Rs. 20.59 lakhs and Rs. 24.67 lakhs (ex-showroom) and the company will focus on selling good volumes of this vehicle. Honda has sold 864 units of the CR-V in the first eleven months of the current fiscal year posting a four-fold growth in sales in comparison to the previous year. Honda is expected to introduce the ninth generation Accord in India sometime in early 2015. This launch would feature a diesel option to take on segment rivals including the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.
Analysts reports suggests that Honda has posted 70 percent growth in sales at 80,163 units in the first eight months of the current fiscal year in India. This growth is post the introduction of the diesel engine with the Amaze that has sold over 52,000 units so far this year. Premium carmakers have launched a good number of vehicles in the Rs 20 lakh price range including the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class, BMW 1-Series and the Volvo V40 Cross Country. This has resulted in customers opting for these cars instead of the D-segment sedans offered by companies like Honda, Skoda, Volkswagen, Nissan and Toyota, forcing these companies to shift their focus on smaller car segments to boost sales.
Apart from this, customers especially the urban youth are also opting for SUVs in India over premium sedans for their sheer road presence and off-roading capabilities. The SUV market grew by 8 percent selling 16,016 units between April and November while the premium sedan market shrunk by 34 percent to 1804 units in the same timeframe. All these factors have forced Honda to pull plug on its eighth generation Accord in the Indian market.
Source – Economic Times