Crossovers are a BIG thing in Brazil. Yesterday, Honda presented the Honda Fit Twist – a jumped up Honda Jazz exclusively for the Brazilian markets.
The Honda Fit Twist is just a normal Jazz with some minor exterior changes. However, the Fit Twist is not an SUV, not even close.
To crack the emerging markets, you need to have a compact SUV in your portfolio. Volkswagen has understood the need and presented the Taigun Concept, a mini SUV based on the underpinnings of Up! for emerging markets such as India, Latin America and China.
Honda has finally confirmed that it plans to launch the Jazz based compact SUV in Brazil in 2014. Honda Brazil will invest 100 million BRL (approximately 265 crores INR) in its automobile R&D division in the next two years to strengthen the R&D facilities. A new R&D facility will be built before the end of 2013.
We have already reported of a Jazz-based compact SUV under development in the skunk works of Honda. The resultant outcome will be a spiritual successor to the Honda HR-V. Considering the Jazz platform is very modular and already supports a hatchback, sedan (City), a MPV (Jazz Shuttle) and an EV, building an SUV should not be a daunting task. The key will be the engine options available on the SUV.
If Honda plans to launch the SUV in Brazil, Honda needs to bestow it will a petrol flex fuel engine. But if it plans to launch the same compact SUV in India, it will require a smaller capacity diesel engine.
The good news is that Honda India is already working on smaller capacity diesel engine for the Brio, Jazz and the City. Honda has a petrol flex engine running on the City in Brazil that may be useful for the SUV application.
Honda has set an ambitious target of selling 400,000 units a year of this compact SUV. Unfortunately, the compact SUV is about three years away from its public debut, but we could see a concept car as a precursor in the near future.