The Honda HR-V has been spied completely undisguised in India for the first time. There are at least four test mules of the VW T-Roc rival at Honda’s Tapukara plant in Rajasthan. The premium sub-compact SUV competes with even the Hyundai Kona (not the 2020 Hyundai Creta).
It is not uncommon fora automakers to have models not sold in a country at their manufacturing facilities. Some models can be present there just to test out the components or other development purposes. For example, Honda has the ninth-gen Civic Hatchback at the Tapukara plant. The HR-V’s presence at the same facility, is indeed for market launch evaluation, though.
Honda had imported several units of the HR-V to India to showcase it to dealers and do local testing. The company had initially ruled out the HR-V for our market because of it being too costly. However, the rising demand for such expensive SUVs and the relaxed import norms later motivated it to test market the HR-V as a niche product. So, it started local testing last year.
The new plan was to import the HR-V to India in knocked-down kits and have approximately 30% localisation. Nearly 70% of the components were going to be imported from Japan, Thailand and China. 12,000 units were expected to be sold in a span of two years, but the number was later revised to 8,000 units. The suppliers didn’t find the extremely small number feasible, and so, Honda had to cancel the launch. Maybe Honda wanted to manufacture the next-gen HR-V in India if the current-gen model met the target, but we'll never know that anymore.
Introduced as the Honda Vezel in November 2013, the current-gen Honda HR-V is now over six years old. The next-gen Honda Vezel (next-gen Honda HR-V) will reportedly break cover in March 2021 - exactly a year from now.
[Source 1: gaadiwaadi.com]
[Source 2: bestcarweb.jp]