Honda Cars India (HCIL) on Monday said that although its mid-size sports utility vehicle (SUV) Elevate starts at a higher price as compared with competitors like Maruti Suzuki’s Grand Vitara, Hyundai’s Creta or Kia’s Seltos, the company has kept the price of top-end variant affordable to attract customers.

The company announced the prices of the Elevate starting at ₹11 lakh and going up to ₹16 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). In competition, the best seller mid-SUV in the market – Hyundai Creta — is priced between ₹10.87 lakh and ₹19.20 lakh, while Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Kia Seltos are priced at ₹10.70 to ₹19.83 lakh, and ₹10.90 lakh to ₹20 lakh, respectively (all ex-showrooms, Delhi).

“We have priced the vehicle very competitively...from the market research and trend that we have, I would say it is very competitive price because majority of the sales for all manufacturers happens on top grade variants. We have strategically positioned ourselves on the top grade as we have seen 60-70 per cent of the sales coming from them and that is why we want to play in the sweet spot,” Takuya Tsumura, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCIL, told businessline.

Declining to share the number of bookings, he said the company has a booking order for the next six months for Elevate. Tsumura noted that the company has ramped up production capacity to 660 units a day at its Tapukara-based manufacturing facility in Rajasthan and it was open to increasing the production capacity in future as per the demand.

Re-entering SUV segment

The re-entry of the company in the SUV segment will also help Honda’s sales growth in India, Tsumura said, adding that the contribution of the SUV segment in the overall passenger vehicle sales in the country has risen to over 48 per cent this year from 43 per cent in the last financial year. The company was selling only two sedans — City and Amaze – in the country.

Elevate is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed manual and a seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT).

According to Kunal Behl, Vice-President - Marketing and Sales, HCIL, the company has received around 40 per cent bookings from Honda loyalists. “Currently, 35-40 per cent bookings are from the Honda loyalists...customers who have the City or Amaze or Jazz or WRV, but 60 per cent of the customers are new who never owned a Honda car. So we are attracting a good base of customers from both sides,” Behl said.