Volkswagen to pit Vento against Honda City
Honda can no longer make an alarming presence in the premium mid-sized sedan in India. Volkswagen is gearing up to present a new executive sedan during the second half of the year. Vento, as it is christened, will give a stiff fight for Honda City(which remains the best seller in this segment with average sale of 4000 monthly units). VW’s new sedan will come from the similar platform to that of Polo hatchback. Strategy too will be same as that of Polo to place it in the premium category to yield higher brand value. The unofficial pricing of the sedan would be Rs9-10lakhs as Honda City is sold at Rs8.59 lakh for base variant, automatic variant costing Rs11.04 lakhs.
The segment has little competitors that made Honda City dominate but it will be easier for VW to counter the dominance. The features with which Vento is designed and delivered are akin to that of City. VW has an edge over City on diesel engine choice which would be made available for Vento. This feature has been missing in City. Vento will come on both diesel and petrol variants and it will have the 1.6 petrol engine found in Polo. The company’s Director said that the competition against City will be the same as it was with the launch of Polo this February. The company sees no threat over the pricing factor as the products are all under premium sector.
VW is one of the world’s top car makers, and the sedan Vento will be made from the Chakan facility in India. The facility is at present making Polo and Skoda Fabia. Polo comes at Rs4.45 lakhs (highly priced than Maruti Swift and Ritz) and Vento too may be priced in the same range, taking into the cost of engine (constituting 35-40%of the total cost). Honda City will run as usual and there won’t be any modifications to the 1.5 V (manual and automatic transmission), 5-spoke alloy wheels, front fog lamps and beige fabric seats. This premium mid-sized sedan segment contains other cars such as Mitsubishi Lancer and Cedia, Chevrolet Optra Magnum and Toyota Corolla Altis.
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