Honda Cars India intends to export 1,600 units of its hatchback Brio to the South African markets by the end of this financial year.

The passenger car manufacturer is also gearing up to launch a diesel car, its first in India, and next generation its sports utility vehicle (SUV) Honda CR-V next year.

Honda Cars India Ltd, the Indian unit of the Japanese car-maker, today flagged off the first consignment of 390 units of Honda Brio to South Africa. The company had exported a total of 1,028 cars, including the City, Jazz and Accord, to the SAARC countries, in the past 14 years, and now has added Brio to the export portfolio.

“Honda Brio is the first car to be exported to South Africa by HCIL and today's consignment is a significant milestone in our journey. We are planning to export more than 1,600 units of Brio to South Africa and Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries by March 2013,” HCIL President and Chief Executive Officer Hironori Kanayama said.

SADC countries include Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius and Seychelles.

“The expansion of Honda’s export business is the first step towards developing India as another hub for export of certain models,” Kanayama said, adding, the export model is similar to the one made and sold in India, but with certain customisations to suit the local regulations.

DIESEL CAR

On the launch of diesel car, HCIL Senior Vice-President (sales and marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said it would be an entry-level sedan. The company would then look at launching other diesel models.

HCIL would also launch its next generation Honda CR-V, which will replace the existing version. He, however, did not divulge a specific date for the launch or other features of both the sedan and the CR-V.

rajesh.kurup@thehindu.co.in

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