Barely weeks after getting the biggest discount in the history of India’s car industry, the Honda Civic Hybrid will now do a disappearing act from local showrooms. Honda Siel Cars India will no longer retail the Civic Hybrid through its dealerships, less than a year after its India launch. The car will now be available only as a direct import through the company with a longer waiting period.
The Civic Hybrid, which runs on both petrol and battery and gives a mileage of up to 21 km per litre, did not enjoy a great run in India till the Rs 8-lac discount in November created a demand rush. But now, if a customer wants to buy the car he will have to approach the dealers or the company to import it. “After the customer places an order, the company will take 3-4 months to bring it to India,” said a Honda Siel official.
The first hybrid model to hit Indian roads, the Civic Hybrid, was readily available after its launch in June 2008 through Honda Siel dealerships. But at Rs 21.5 lakh, including a 104% import duty, it was too expensive to be a hit with customers. Honda Siel maintains that the lack of government support for imported hybrid cars also played spoilsport and the Civic Hybrid clocked sales of just 65 units in the first five months of its launch as against almost 300 units imported by the company in June 2008.