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Published on: June 19, 2023, 1:26 p.m.
Honda joins the SUV war
  • Tsumura (second from left): we embark on a new journey

By S.M. Boothem

Mid-size sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have become the fast-selling segment in India. The latest entrant in the segment is Honda’s new SUV, the Elevate. Currently, Honda Cars India (HCI) has two sedans – the City and the Amaze and both are bestsellers for the Japanese carmaker. Honda chose India for the world premiere of its new SUV for both Indian and global markets. This indicates the country’s importance as a launchpad for showcasing international brands. 

HCI, is now making its entry into the mid-size SUV market by introducing the Elevate. Bookings for the new SUV will start in July and deliveries will commence during the festive season. While the initial introduction of the Elevate will be in the domestic market, the company aims to establish India an important export hub for the new model.

The Elevate is the first SUV among 5 new premium SUVs planned to be launched by Honda in India by 2030. A battery electric vehicle (BEV) based on this SUV is planned to be launched in India within 3 years in line with Honda’s global vision towards carbon neutrality.

The Elevate features a bold and masculine exterior design with a striking front face, sharp character lines, and a unique rear design which come together to create a vehicle with a strong road presence. The Elevate has been developed by the Honda R&D Asia Pacific centre located in Thailand.

The R&D team in India has specifically worked on understanding potential target customers through extensive market surveys which reflect their three main motivations for purchasing SUVs, including stylish bold exterior design, a strong safety package with active and passive safety, and overall comfort when travelling long distances. 

Stamp of commitment

“India being the world’s third largest automotive market, is extremely important for Honda. As the first country to launch a global model, the all-new Elevate is a stamp of commitment to Honda’s plans and aspirations for the country. The exports from India to several regions across the globe are growing continuously every year. With a high level of quality standards to deliver products that exceed expectations of both local and worldwide customers, India has become one of the most important export hubs for Honda,” said Toshio Kuwahara, Head of Regional Unit (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co. and President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co.

“Moving forward to 2050, Honda strives to realize carbon neutrality and zero traffic collision fatalities involving our motorcycles and automobiles. To achieve this target, Honda aims to increase the sales ratio of battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles sales to 100 per cent globally by 2040, including India,” added Kuwahara. 

Honda cars are well known for their safety features. The Elevate offers a host of active and passive advanced safety features like a six-airbag system, ABS with EBD and brake assist, vehicle stability assist with agile handling assist, sill start assist, Honda Lane watch camera, light crash performance and pedestrian protection. Another notable feature – Honda Sensing – utilises a high-performance front camera with a wide angle to scan the road ahead and alert the driver to minimise the risk of accidents and, in some cases, intervene to avoid or lessen the severity of a collision.

  • India being the world’s third largest automotive market, is extremely important for Honda. As the first country to launch a global model, the all-new Elevate is a stamp of commitment to Honda’s plans and aspirations for the country

“With the unveiling of the all-new Elevate, we embark on a new journey with Honda’s strong product offering in the booming SUV segment in India. Honda enjoys strong leadership and popularity in the sedan segment. There has been very high anticipation amongst Honda loyalists and the overall market, who have been eagerly waiting for the new model. We are confident that Elevate will further strengthen the bond with our esteemed customers and soon become our strong third pillar of business besides the City and Amaze. We have a robust product strategy to strengthen our premium play in the market and Elevate is the first model among the 5 new SUVs that will be launched by Honda in India by 2030,” said Takuya Tsumura, President & CEO, HCI. 

“India is very close to my heart. I first came here in 1998, when we were laying the foundation for the Indian operations of the company. Today, I proudly stand before you as Honda Cars India marks its 25 years of business in the country. During these years, the love for the Honda brand and its products have helped us deliver the joy of mobility to over 2 million customers in India,” recalls Tsumura.

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