Thursday, January 2, 2014

Honda Planning a Second Vezel for Developing Markets

by: Noah Joseph

The new Honda Vezel was designed as a global product. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, the compact crossover is already going on sale in Japan, will soon reach Europe and will eventually hit the North American market as well – albeit with a different name and engine lineup. But it won't be sold everywhere.

According to Autocar India, the Vezel was originally earmarked to reach the emerging market on the subcontinent, but the declining value of the rupee has apparently forced Honda to rethink its strategy. Instead, the Japanese automaker is now expected to develop a second compact crossover – one more cost-effective to produce locally – for sale in India and other, nearby developing markets.

The new model would be based on the Brio, a hatchback that's smaller than the Fit (on which the Vezel is based) and built in India, Thailand and Indonesia. Honda has already enlarged the Brio's platform to create the Amaze sedan and Mobilio minivan. Building a crossover on the same platform would reportedly require some re-engineering – particularly around the wheel wells – but would apparently still be more cost-effective than importing the Vezel.

The resulting vehicle would compete with the likes of the Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster. If Honda keeps its length under the four-meter (13-foot) mark, it could benefit from tax benefits that could make it that much more competitive when it reaches the Indian market around 2016.

Source: Autoblog

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