The Honda City has always been a favourite among Indian buyers. However, the lack of a diesel engine saw it slip behind its nearest competitor, the Hyundai Verna in the sales charts. With the launch of the fourth-generation City, Honda seems to have turned the tables.
For the first time, the City is available with a diesel motor. The 1.5-litre, i-DTEC unit, has helped the car leapfrog the Verna and become the segment leader. Our February 2014 sales report and analysis shows that Honda sold 7,184 and 7,213 units of the City in January and February respectively. Hyundai managed to sell just 3,803 and 3,342 units of the Verna for the same months. Even the introduction of the CX variant of the car does not seem to have had the effect Hyundai would have desired.
In fact, the City has become so dominant that its sales figures outnumber those of all its competitors put together. Other players in the segment include the Volkswagen Vento (1,294 and 1,191), Skoda Rapid (1,188 and 961) and Maruti Suzuki SX4 (191 and 228).
The competition will have to act fast and take some radical steps if the march of the Honda City is to be halted.