With close to 10,000 bookings for its new City, Honda is jockeying to regain the top slot in the mid-size sedan segment, which it dominated for a decade before losing to Hyundai (Verna) two years ago.

The Japanese auto major has launched the new Honda City in both petrol and diesel versions. The mid-size sedan segment, which also has Volkswagen’s Vento and Skoda Rapid among others, has high diesel penetration.

A shift towards diesel-powered models had spurred growth in this segment in the past. Honda was selling only petrol version of the City until now.

With the launch of all-new 4 generation Honda City, the company is determined to regain its top position in the segment with a promise of better mileage (driven by new series engines), competitive pricing and supported by a host of features. “We are confident that the new City will hit No.1 position very soon,” Jnaneswar Sen, Senior Vice-President – Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India told The Hindu here.

The new City has secured bookings for 9,933 units as on January 8, 70 per cent of which is for the diesel model. While it was formally launched on January 6, the bookings started on November 24, 2013. While delivery of diesel version has started, despatch of petrol variant will commence from the second-half of February.

During April-November 2013, total volumes of mid-size segment fell 26 per cent at 99,056 units. This segment was growing at robust rate till 2012 on the back of snew launches. Besides slowdown, roll out of compact sedans and SUVs impacted the volumes in this category, and sales started falling.

Mr. Sen said the Honda brand ``is also getting established strongly in the Tier 2 & 3 towns, which are expected to account for 58 per cent of new City sales’’.

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