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Old 5th May 2018, 09:56   #1
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Default Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

The thread topic should not come as a surprise. I've been saying this across the Honda threads for a while.



Honda launched the WR-V a year ago. Today the WR-V is one of Honda's best selling models almost matching their legendary City's monthly sales figures. It sells nearly 4,000 units monthly. This is despite not having an automatic option at all and a very mediocre 1.2L petrol engine. The 1.5L diesel is actually the more decent option.

Honda are actually sitting on a small gold mine with the WR-V, but they are not making the most of it. Compact SUVs / Crossovers sell today and are becoming really popular. But a lot of buyers want the ease of an automatic. Just look at the number of Ecosport ATs on the road and the number of Creta ATs. Even Tata knows this and has just launched the Nexon with an AMT.

Honda recently introduced the Amaze with a diesel CVT. The first proper diesel AT option in the segment! Even though on paper, they had to reduce the motor's output from 100 PS to 80 PS as well as the torque from 200 Nm to 160 Nm, the engine and gearbox tuning have been done so well that you wouldn't be able to tell unless someone told you this. Moderator Suhaas and Eddy drove the Amaze diesel CVT and they told me that it didn't feel like it was detuned so much when driving it. They said it was a brilliant AT box and Suhaas even mentioned it was better than the petrol CVT found in the Amaze and Jazz, with lesser rubber-band effect. You will have to wait for our official review for more details.

Now just imagine this CVT in a WR-V. Yes on paper again, the figures will not be as impressive, but the convenience of a diesel CVT crossover is any day better than the jerky AMTs from Maruti and Tata. It will even one-up Ford who only have the petrol AT option in the EcoSport. Now that Honda have managed to mate the CVT to the 1.5L diesel, the WR-V should be the ideal car to get this transmission option after the Amaze.

Then there's the petrol. I don't mind not having a CVT petrol with the 1.2L motor, but everyone knows Honda has the brilliant 1.5L engine in the City and BR-V with a CVT option. I know that the 1.5L engine will attract higher duties, but why is it that Ford is able to sell a 1.5L engine with a 6 speed box and Honda can't? To top it off, Honda's 1.5L i-VTEC engine isn't even new, it's been there for donkey's years! Ford had to develop a new engine and invest in manufacturing this new engine here. Honda has been making the 1.5L for years...even exporting them to other countries! They just need to put the City's engine in the WR-V with the CVT and launch the damn thing.

The WR-V can really give even Maruti, Ford and Tata nightmares with these 2 engine and transmission options. As a package, there is little to fault in the WR-V except for the love-it/hate-it styling. Space is unmatched vs the competition, it drives well and has a sunroof as it's USP. The biggest miss in the WR-V is 6 airbags which only the EcoSport offers. Else it's on par if not better than the rest.

So is Honda listening?

Last edited by GTO : 7th May 2018 at 10:46.
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:44   #2
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th May 2018, 09:49   #3
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Agree. Doesn't Honda India offer CVT on Jazz, how difficult is it for them to get it in WR-V?
Delay is appearing similar to Brio. Had they launched Brio AT variant from day 1, Brio sales would have been much better.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:18   #4
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Completely agree. The WR-V with a diesel CVT would be an incredible combination. In fact they should go the Hyundai (Creta) way and offer it in both petrol and diesel options.

Let each target customer have a choice. I can't understand why Honda isn't much more aggressive with its product portfolio.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:28   #5
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Honda recently introduced the Amaze with a diesel CVT. The first proper diesel AT option in the segment! Even though on paper, they had to reduce the motor's output from 100 PS to 80 PS as well as the torque from 200 Nm to 160 Nm, the engine and gearbox tuning have been done so well that you wouldn't be able to tell unless someone told you this.
I am sure Honda is aware of this - bringing it to market takes time. I am not sure what is the technical complexity in a Diesel CVT but there must be something to it which is why it took so long to bring one to market...

And Amaze possibly is the guinea pig here - based on how successful the Amaze Diesel CVT is in terms of its reliability as well as market demand, I am sure Honda will plonk the same in their other cars. The de-tune of the Engine could be so that they can evaluate the reliability and then once proven tune it back to 100 BHP for more premium cars

In any case, kudos to Honda for bringing in a segment first
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:37   #6
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

AT options on the WR-V will make it a very formidable car in the Honda line-up.

Guess Honda isn't brave enough to give WR-V an AT to save the likes of new Amaze, Jazz itself or the City.
  • WR-V 1.5 Petrol AT will make the City look so much more overpriced!
  • WR-V 1.2 Petrol AT will make a lot of people ignore the Jazz or Amaze.
  • WR-V Diesel AT will make people wonder whether they need any other car for the urban conditions. It will be like an Innova without the baggage of a third row.

Honda should ideally be brave and take a leaf out of MSIL's school of thought on cannibalization.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:41   #7
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Couple of reasons I can think of.
  • The City and the WR-V are the only two decent selling cars in the Honda Portfolio. The Jazz is way way behind the segment leaders with an average of 2000-2200 units per month. I assume a lot of the Jazz sales will be the CVT variant. Bringing in the WR-V automatic will dilute the sales of the Jazz further and make it more irrelevant in the segment. May hit the Amaze too. Unlike Maruti-who have a long line up of blockbuster products and hence do not mind cannibalization across its portfolio, I assume Honda is a little more concerned about looking like a One trick (or two trick pony) and wants to present an image of a good portfolio of decent selling cars. (Especially considering the City is going to be under further pressure from the Yaris)
  • Pricing maybe another concern. With the WR-V already an expensive car. The premium of the CVT may make it exorbitantly priced for what it offers.

Having said that, Yes, Honda should be brave enough to give the choice to the customer.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:53   #8
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Oh hell yes, we might as well sell our aging VW Vento and get one for those city traffic runs. Took a test drive of 1.2 petrol WRV sometime ago and came out quite impressed with decent power - never felt it was underpowered and how it handled. Plastic quality is one of the few chinks in the armor which Honda should be able to sort out. CVT would be a tremendous add on to that package and am sure would attract lots of potential customers.

Last edited by Col Mehta : 7th May 2018 at 10:56.
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Old 7th May 2018, 11:44   #9
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

WRV is a India-only model. It is not sold in ASEAN nations or Europe unlike Jazz/City or Brio/Amaze/BRV. I'm pretty sure this has something to do with WRV not being available in automatic guise.
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Old 7th May 2018, 11:48   #10
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
WRV is a India-only model. It is not sold in ASEAN nations or Europe unlike Jazz/City or Brio/Amaze/BRV. I'm pretty sure this has something to do with WRV not being available in automatic guise.
Honda WR-V 1.5L + CVT + 6 Airbags version is available in Brazil.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:35   #11
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

I doubt whether 1.5 petrol will ever make its way into WR-V, simply because it will take it far higher because of loosing the 1.2L/4m tax advantage. However Amaze's diesel automatic should be a good match, keeping the tax advantage as well.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:42   #12
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

Have never quite been able to comprehend the strategy to not launch automatics. How many car models do not have an automatic at present. Pretty sure there aren't that many. I can understand if they want to gauge the market response first before launching AT.

Lets take the case of Tata Nexon. Tata only introduced the AMT around 9 months after bringing Nexon to market. The car has been selling in good numbers since. Only after the Nexon registered consistent sales and been branded a success, Tata decided to push the AMT.

Its been more than a year since WR-V's introduction. It is the highest selling Honda model for sometime now. Yet no automatic. The WR-V distinguishes itself from its Honda siblings. If coupling 1.5L i-VTEC makes it too similar to City or other R-V's then they can retain the existing 1.2L mill and mate it to a CVT. It can kill the Jazz but WR-V is now their top of the line product. The CVT can sway prospective Ecosport and Nexon customers.

My rudimentary analysis says Honda is missing a trick. The Indian car market deserves more options. More options means increased competition which can only result in better quality, tightly priced products. Hope Honda recognises the demand and reacts swiftly.

Last edited by strawhat : 7th May 2018 at 12:47.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:47   #13
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

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Originally Posted by strawhat View Post
Have never quite been able to comprehend the strategy to not launch automatics. How many car models do not have an automatic at present. Pretty sure there aren't that many. I can understand if they want to gauge the market response first before launching AT.
The Automatics are mostly in demand for Urban markets. The rural / semi urban markets still prefer the manuals and have a bad perception about automatics (read low FE, low Reliability). Only when the company is sure of the potential breakeven, they will invest in new technologies. Else, with low volumes, the investment will be loss making.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:50   #14
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

WR-V with both CVT options(petrol & diesel), ofcourse along with the current crop of manuals, will probably kill whatever is left of the Jazz and the upcoming Amaze as well since lately these crossovers(a.k.a C-SUVs) enjoy more snob value than the compact-sedans in our country(unchi is the new lambi). Plus the road conditions(with unscientific speed-breakers & potholes) too favor these high ground clearance hatch-on-stilts.

Having said that I dont see why that should be a problem? Look at toyota. They majorly sell 2 products Innova and Fortuner with great margins and laughing all the way to the bank. For HONDA, WR-V & City(both kinda overpriced) can do a similar trick and actually increase their profits if released in both variants with CVT. Will they do it is the question only they can answer

Last edited by SoumenD : 7th May 2018 at 13:06.
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Old 7th May 2018, 13:14   #15
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Default Re: Why doesn't Honda launch the WR-V with a CVT Automatic?

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Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
The Automatics are mostly in demand for Urban markets. The rural / semi urban markets still prefer the manuals and have a bad perception about automatics (read low FE, low Reliability). Only when the company is sure of the potential breakeven, they will invest in new technologies. Else, with low volumes, the investment will be loss making.
There is no investment to be made here. Everything is ready, they just have to plonk it in! They have the 1.5 iVTEC, which is compatible with the chassis. They have the CVT, which is compatible with the application. They have managed to mate the CVT with the diesel engine as well. Any and every combination of engine and gearbox is possible now. Only the management's will is missing, otherwise all the ingredients are right there.
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