February 8, 2018 / 1:24 PM / 7 months ago

Honda aims to double market share in India

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co (7267.T) plans to double its market share in India within the next few years, the head of its local unit told Reuters, as it looks to boost its presence in the world’s fifth-largest car market.

The Honda booth displays the company logo at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

To be a major player and have a meaningful presence, Honda needs to achieve a 10 percent market share, Yoichiro Ueno, managing director of the carmaker’s India unit, told Reuters during the country’s biennial auto show.

Honda, which sells cars such as the City sedan and CR-V sport-utility vehicle in India, has seen its market share fall to about 5 percent at the end of 2017 from 7 percent three years ago, industry data show, thanks to a slew of new launches from rivals Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) and Hyundai Motor (005380.KS).

Annual passenger vehicle sales in India crossed 3 million units last year and the country is expected to become the world’s third-largest car market by 2020, trailing only China and the United States.

One of the challenges for Honda is that lower taxes on small cars in India make them a preferred choice for buyers, and the carmaker has few small cars to offer.

“Our global line up is different so it is a bit difficult to utilize global resources,” Ueno said, adding car taxation policy in India needed to change to encourage carmakers to bring in products from their global portfolio.

The Japanese carmaker is utilizing only 70 percent of its annual production capacity of 300,000 units in India and needs to ramp up output to be efficient, Ueno said.

Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Mark Potter

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