In a day's time, Honda will unveil its production small car at the Bangkok Motor Show and we will be there to bring you all the details about it and give you a first-hand experience of what will be Honda's most important car for India since the arrival of several generations of the City model.
To be called Brio, the car codenamed 2CV will be built at Honda's plant in Noida as only 65 per cent of the 100,000 capacity plant is being utilised. Depending on demand, Honda can move production to its facility at Alwar in Rajasthan at a short notice, but when and how that will happen remains to be seen.
The Brio will be powered by a three-cylinder petrol engine, a derivative of the four-cylinder unit found on the Jazz but with a cylinder less. Swept volume of this new-for-Brio engine is expected to be 900cc, with a power rating of around 70 bhp. It may utilise Honda's i-VTEC system or dump it altogether for a regular valvetrain, details of which will be shared after the car's launch tomorrow. Like other Honda models, ABS and airbags is expected to be standard on all models, but that might mean that the base model which is expected to start around Rs 5 lakh will be completely bereft of any notable features.
Honda may also offer the 1.2-litre Jazz engine on the Brio at a later stage and is mulling placing a new 1.5-litre diesel engine in the Brio and City as Honda finally considers making its move into the ultra competitive diesel segment. Honda is mum about pricing for now, but we expect prices to be in the region of Rs 5 to 6.5 lakh for the 900cc offering. With the launch on November 30 and bookings to begin in 2011, a lot will be riding on Honda's shoulders. Whether it finally makes it big in the small car space remains to be seen.
Watch this space, tomorrow, November 30 for more updates and full details on the Honda Brio