Honda has hiked prices of the Brio and Amaze yet again in 2015 although the increase in prices is too marginal to even justify a hike in the first place.
When you say the word Honda in India, people often associate the company with premium products. This is however not true, Honda is as much a mass market brand like Toyota and both these companies are known for offering reliable and easy to maintain products the world over. They are in no way premium car manufacturers and that’s the reason why they have their premium arms (Acura and Lexus). Although not premium in the real way, their pricing sure is premium. The Japanese are known to overcharge for both cars and bikes in India, they also get away with it as customers are ready to pay the premium.
We all know how high priced the City is (over its rivals) and that’s because Honda can charge for that car due to the brand pull of India’s top selling C-segment car. The focus on profitability is so high that the Vezel was deemed too expensive for India and thus we will get a Brio based SUV. This is in spite of most emerging markets in the world getting the Vezel. In what comes as a surprise to us, Honda has increased prices of the Brio by Rs. 600/- while the Amaze is dearer by Rs. 800/-. Honda had already hiked prices of these cars by up to Rs. 18,000/- at the start of the year due to rollback in excise duty concession.
The earlier increase in price was justified but passing on Rs. 600/- to customers who are paying upward of Rs. 5 lakhs (and up to Rs. 9 lakhs) seems a bit unexpected from a company like Honda. The reason for this increment is the hike in basic excise duty on small cars from 12.36% to 12.5%. Honda sold 8130 units of the Amaze last month while the Brio managed to sell just 1642 units.
It’s not just Honda’s 4-wheeler arm which likes to price things at a premium, the 2-wheeler arm is the master of it, selling scooters and motorcycles with the buyer having to spend on even the basic fitments. In year 2015, almost all Honda motorcycles lack an engine kill switch while the most popular scooter, the Activa comes with age-old suspension and still doesn’t get telescopic front forks. It is time we Indians judge a product by its merit and not by the logo which sits on it.