Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. (HSCI) has asserted that it will retain its leadership position despite sluggishness in the car market. In an interaction with The Hindu after the launch of its third generation Honda City car here, Mr. Masahiro Takedagawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said that Honda would have to look hard into supply chain and make the company a lot leaner. The rising interest rate regime would have an impact on demand, what with about 80 per cent of the buyers depending on institutional funding.

Fielding a range of questions, the Managing Director said the announcement of tax sops for the manufacture of small cars had spurred Honda, too, to make a beeline for this segment. “There is no reason for us to wait. We have made up our mind. We will launch the hatch-back in the Indian market by the middle of next year,” he said. Initially, the small cars would be made at the company’s plant in Greater Noida. HSCI, he said, would soon commence export of engine components from its Rajasthan facility. He indicated that the first batch of shipment could happen in April-May next year. The Managing Director also said that Honda was looking at India as a significant component of its global research and development initiative.