Honda has been making the Jazz since 2001. Called ‘Fit’ in Japan and America and ‘Jazz’ in Asia and Europe, it has been a massive hit. The practicality, quality and reliability has made the Honda Jazz a favorite. Of course for the European and American market it’s a compact hatch. It has bigger engines and automatic gearboxes. But due to the exchange rate between the American Dollar and Japanese Yen, the company had to suffer losses by exporting the Jazz and selling in America. So now Honda has built a new manufacturing plant in Mexico.
Honda is setting a target to sell about two lakh units of the Jazz in the year 2016 in America. Right now due to shortage of supply they sell only about 60,000 units per year. Thus the growth in sales required is a massive 45 per cent per year till 2016. As unbelievable as it seems, experts of the North American automotive market believe it to be possible. Honda, with increased production, a refreshed new Jazz and addition of many variants are expecting the sales to go up.
The Japanese automaker is introducing a new revolutionary single engine Hybrid technology and also an Electric Jazz (EV). As the American and European market has a lot of demand for energy saving and environmentally friendly cars, Honda is definitely going in the right direction. So with the Jazz as their new (rather reinvented) knight in the shining armor, Honda is all set to take on the compact segment.
Now coming closer to home, Honda introduced the Jazz to the Indian Market in 2009. At that time the concept of ‘premium hatchback’ was just settling into our Indian mentality. With just the Hyundai i20 and the Skoda Fabia around, it was a good time to introduce our market to a revolutionary concept! Space of a sedan, comfort of a sedan, quality and premium feel of a sedan, storage capacity of a sedan but in a ‘small, easy to park and easy to maneuver’ package. Seemed pretty good, especially as our cities were becoming overcrowded and traffic becoming worse. It had a brilliant refined engine and it was the only car to have features like airbags, ABS, integrated stereo and steering mounted audio controls even on the base model. It seemed almost obvious to Honda that the Jazz will sell. But Honda overpriced it by at least Rs. 1 – 1.5 lakh.
Honda did realize its problem and in 2011 drastically reduced the price by about a lakh. Which was a very good move, but another problem had cropped up in the Indian market by that time – petrol prices! So almost the whole Indian population shifted to diesel cars. So when Honda finally priced the Jazz right, nobody wanted to buy a Rs. 7 lakh hatchback with a petrol engine. Especially when competition had such strong products that ticked all the right boxes.
The Honda Jazz is a very good car, but due to certain mistakes in analyzing the Indian market, sales suffered. But it still has potential. By pricing it right, revamping the image of the car as a value for money proposition and most importantly introducing a diesel engine, Honda can achieve in India what it set out to do – make the Jazz the highest selling car in their stable. So Honda has a product which is already a winner. But with their new strategies and playing a well thought out game, the Jazz can have a brilliant second innings both in India and the world.
Source – Automotive News