Honda's most popular nameplate in India, the Honda City, is set for a revival. While it may just be a cosmetic update, it's nonetheless important for Honda since the City anchors the company's India sales and is one of the top selling cars in the C-segment. To re-register its grip over the segment by taking the first mover's advantage, Honda would want to launch the City facelift in India ahead of Ciaz facelift which could be here in March-April 2017. The Ciaz outsold the City in 2016 by a margin of 5000-odd units.
The City facelift recently made way into the Thai market and rumours were rife that it would come to India as early as January 2017. Our sources, however, point to a Feb 2017 launch. Dealerships in Delhi are accepting bookings for the updated model as some buyers are ready to wait out for the new City. Official bookings for the updated model are expected to commence in the last week of January 2017. Honda dealerships are therefore in the process of selling off their existing City stock by offering juicy deals on top of cartel discount.
The City facelift for the Thai market gets a mildly reworked fascia with a new bumper and a new sleeker front grille. The most talked-about update is the inclusion of LED headlamps in the package that may make way into the Indian market as well. Honda City's chief rival in India and the current segment leader, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, already gets projector headlamps as standard. With Maruti Suzuki's Ignis sporting LED projector headlamps, we expect Maruti Suzuki to offer the same in the upcoming Ciaz facelift as well. The Ciaz may enter the company's premium retail chain, Nexa, as their fifth product, fourth being the Baleno RS which is due for a Feb 2017 launch.
Other changes in the facelift City include a redesigned rear bumper. The interiors also get minor improvements with some new features, details about which can be read here.
The C-segment didn't see much happening in the year 2016 with only the Skoda Rapid undergoing a major cosmetic overhaul. 2017 will, however, see the C-segment battle heating up with the all-new Hyundai Verna set to arrive in the market. The Hyundai Verna was once a tough nut to crack in the C-segment in India. However, new product launches in the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz took Hyundai completely off-guard and outnumbered the Verna on sales charts. The new Verna is expected to make a strong comeback in India riding high on features. Importantly, Hyundai is expected to power the new Verna with a mild-hybrid diesel engine as seen on the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS (more on the new Verna and other upcoming Hyundais here.)
Let us know which of the three cars – the City, the Ciaz or the Verna – will be your pick in the C-segment in the comments below!