Oct 17, 2008

Business - India;Honda to launch small car in 2010

TOKYO: Tata's Nano may face stiff competition on its home turf as Japan's Honda Motor Co. plans to launch a four or five-seat car in early 2010 in the booming Indian market.

Honda Motor Co. President Takeo Fukui said the Japanese car-maker plans to launch a very small car in Europe as well as emerging countries such as China and India in the early 2010.

"We are developing a small car that would be even smaller than the Fit subcompact," he said.

The engine displacement for the four- or five-seat car would be less than 1 litre, against 1.3 litres for the smallest version of the Fit subcompact series, he was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

Honda expects growing demand for such very small cars in response to gasoline price hikes.

Fukui said the very small car would be difficult to sell in Japan where mini-vehicles with the engine displacement of up to 660 cc have been available for tax incentives.

On General Motors Corp. and two other big US automakers plagued with a serious sales slump, Fukui said Honda has not planned or been requested to help any of them

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