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Honda to launch made in India hybrid car in 2021 – Based on City?

Rumours suggest that Honda Car India’s upcoming electrified product is based on the all-new City sedan

Honda Car India is working on an all-new hybrid product for our market and plans to launch the same sometime next year. The Japanese manufacturer expects the Indian automotive market to attain normalcy from COVID-19 in the first quarter of 2021. For the same reason, the company is going ahead with its ‘local-production’ hybrid car project.

It is unknown what category this vehicle would belong to. However, several rumours suggest that the upcoming electrified Honda would a hybrid version of the all-new fifth-gen Honda City C-segment sedan. Regardless of its bodystyle, local production and hence, reduced pricing would be the highlight.

Honda Car India had previously tried its hand at introducing a hybrid product in India. Launched more than 12 years ago, the 2008MY Honda Civic Hybrid was an instant market failure at an asking price of Rs 21.50 lakh ex-showroom (being a CBU). More recently, they had launched Accord hybrid back in 2016; but had to discontinue it due to same reasons. EVs and hybrids had far less popularity back then compared to the present scenario.

2020 Honda City hybrid
2020 Honda City hybrid

Gaku Nakanishi, President & CEO of Honda Cars India Limited (HCIL), states that the company has made some recovery in Q2 FY2021 thanks to its online platform. Sales are still down by almost 60 per cent compared to the same period, last fiscal. He shared that this trend will continue until January 2021. Considering the present state of affairs, Honda Car India constantly evaluates the feasibility of various investments but remains on track with its electrification strategy.

Gaku Nakanishi reminded that an automaker requires at least three to four years to develop a product from scratch and an extra year or so to put plans in place. He further added that the company has “no plans to postpone the (hybrid vehicle) project”.

Honda City hybrid

The fifth-gen Honda City (seventh globally) made its debut in Thailand back in November 2019. Likewise, its hybrid version is expected to launch in the Thai market towards the end of this year. Chances are that Honda’s made in India hybrid car is based on the new gen City.

Speaking about powertrain option – minimal details are available at this point but multiple sources comment that its ‘e:HEV’ powertrain would be a tweaked version serving in the 2020MY Honda Jazz (or Fit) petrol hybrid variant. Honda has confirmed that Jazz is not going to be launched in India.

The all-new Honda Jazz Hybrid combines a dual electric motor setup with a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol motor (similar to the BS6 unit powering the Indian-spec Honda City). Put together, the powertrain makes roughly 108bhp and 253Nm of torque. It supports pure-electric mode and can propel the car from zero to 100km/h in 9.4 seconds.

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