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Honda Motor unveils Brio

Sumit Bhattacharjee

BANGKOK: Taking a decisive step to move towards the huge chunk of Indian middle-class segment or what is called the ‘B Plus' segment in auto parlance, Japanese auto major Honda Motor Co unveiled the prototype of Honda Brio, the new small-sized vehicle from its stable, at the Thailand International Motor Expo on Tuesday. The car is essentially being developed for Indian and Thailand markets.

The prototype (Thai version) was unveiled by the President and CEO of Honda Motor, Takanobu Ito, in the presence of the President and CEO of Asian Honda Motor Company Fumikho Ike and President and CEO of Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) Takashi Nagai.

Brio is being developed with Honda's advanced technologies, furthering the company's policy of ‘man maximum, machine minimum concept' and will be produced by HSCI. The car will roll out from HSCI's Greater Noida plant and is expected to hit the Indian market some time in the second-half of 2011. In Thailand, the car is expected to make its debut by March 2011. Giving technical details Mr. Ito said that the car was going to be below 1200-cc and would be much lighter as compared to the others in its segment, was going to be less than four metres in length and was expected to cost below Rs.5 lakh.

Brio is expected to target the segment that covers cars like Swift, i20 and Polo. The car will be produced as per BS-IV norms and is expected to be fuel-efficient.

Interacting with the press post-unveiling, the CEO of Honda Motor explained that it was much necessary for the company to step into this segment, to match the rapid motorisation in India.

Brio is going to be 80 per cent local and Honda is focusing on expanding its supply-chain by 20 per cent.

The company's Greater Noida plant has a capacity to turn out about one lakh cars, and at present the plant is producing about 60,000 cars. “The initial goal is to fill that gap with Brio and later we intend to move to our Tapukara plant in Rajasthan,” said the Vice-President Marketing of HSCI, Jnaneswar Sen.

Clarifying a query on Honda's entry into the diesel segment, Mr. Ito said that the research and development wing of the company was working on it.

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