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Honda plans to roll out 5 SUVs, including EVs

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NEW DELHI: After being relegated to fringes in the Indian car market, Japanese auto major Honda is charting out afresh drive and gearing up to launch five new SUVs, including electrics.

The company on Tuesday unveiled Elevate, first of its new cars, a 1,500cc petrol offroader that will take on rivals such as Hyundai’s Creta, Kia’s Seltos, and Maruti’s Grand Vitara. While Honda does not have any immediate plans to introduce a hybrid version of Elevate (it has a hybrid option of City sedan), the company will roll out an electric based on the model within three years, Takuya Tsumura, president & CEO of Honda Cars India, said. “With the City and Amaze sedans, we have been participating in only 10% of the Indian car market. Now, with Elevate and the other new cars planned over the next few years, we will be present in the fast-growing SUV segment, which is over 40% of the car market,” Tsumura told TOI.

Honda used to enjoy a healthy run in India till just afew years back, but gradually started to lose momentum as competition became intense and it failed to keep pace with changes in market.

For example, it was late in introducing diesel versions when the fuel was in strong demand and later failed to offer a mainstream SUV when the category started exploding around three years back. The company also does not have any hatchbacks after it decided to move out Brio mini, Jazz and WRV.

Tsumura said the company is now changing course and will focus on SUVs and electrics. The Elevate, which will be launched towards the festive season, has a tough task ahead as it has to take on well-heeled products such as the Creta and Seltos.
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