The Honda Civic carries great plans for component suppliers.
Honda Siel Cars India launched the Civic sedan on 4th July 2006, taking the number of models it sells in India to four. The Civic adds to the highly popular Indian line-up of Honda models - the City, Accord and the CR-V. Of these four models, the CR-V is a CBU. The Civic thus becomes the third (made in India) model from Honda and is positioned between the City and the CR-V and thus priced at Rs 12.5 lakhs approximately for manual transmission version and Rs 13.3 lakhs approximately for the auto transmission version in Mumbai. Takeo Fukui, president and CEO, Honda Motor Co, unveiled the car. He said, "With the launch of the latest generation Civic in India, we are reinforcing our commitment to our Indian customers, who have given tremendous support to all our cars. I am sure the Civic will meet the aspirations of our discerning customers." Support for Honda cars as well as motorcycles have been strong. Both, the cars and motorcycles enjoy a strong brand following in India and this is the reason why Honda as part of its worldwide policy, discontinued the City at the peak of its success and introduced the new model. The new model has been well received in the Indian market, once again proving the strong brand following. So good has been the going for Honda in India despite the lack of a diesel power plant in its line-up that India reflects as an important destination on Honda's world map despite a vast disparity in numbers between the China market and India market. Contrary to focusing on the China market for the numbers it is offering, Honda seems to be too keen to mark its presence in the Indian market. The reasons are obvious and enough to make Honda think bullish about India. According to Fukui, the total scale of business of Honda's four companies, including power products sold by Honda Siel Power Products Ltd, is one of the highest of any Japanese investment in India. He added, "Moreover, combining the sales of all Honda products together, we are meeting 3.8 million customers a year in India. That means India has the second largest number of customers who love and support Honda products in the world, next only to the United States."Prior to the launch of the Civic in India, Fukui announced Honda's plans to strengthen its business structure in India. Fukui drew attention to the four-wheeler market by announcing that the annual production capacity of Honda Siel Cars India Greater Noida plant was expanded to 50,000 units at the end of last year and by the end of next year the annual capacity would be doubled to 100,000 units.Masahiro Takedagawa, president and CEO, Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), echoed Fukui's sentiments. Speaking at the launch of the Civic, Takedagawa termed the launch as a significant milestone in HSCI's journey in the country. "The Civic's design and performance levels are years ahead of its time and we are sure it will appeal to our customers in India. It is global technology that we have brought to India. But based on our market study and the needs of our customers, we have added some new features in the car, such as rear-seat audio control and reading light for rear passengers." Built at HSCI's Greater Noida facility, the Civic comes with a unique "Mono Form Sport" design with a dynamic flowing upper body and a solid and muscular lower body. The aggressive headlamps and the typical Honda front grille design give the Civic a sharp and powerful profile. On the sides, chrome lines and grip-type chrome door handles create a premium and refined impact. The round 4-eye graphic taillight and elliptic dual exhaust pipe lends the car a sporty rear styling. Engineering prowess of Honda is indicated by the opposed flat-blade wipers of the Civic, which according to sources at Honda are unique and cover an additional 17 per cent wiping area as compared with conventional wipers. The 15-inch alloys improve thermodynamic characteristics. Like the exterior, the interior of the Civic looks space age like you would find in a personal aircraft, with a multiplex meter as a characteristic feature. The speedometer is positioned higher than usual so that the driver does not have to take his eyes off the road to read the driving information. The completely ergonomic design-integrated audio and A/C equipment is arranged at optimum positions on the instrument panel to the left of the driver. The high-function audio equipment has a MP3/WMA compatible 6-CD player. The tilt and telescopic steering wheel of a small diameter goes well with the space age feel. The auto transmission model comes with paddle shift located at the rear of the wheel. The Z-arm parking brake lever and inner door handles catch attention immediately. The Honda Civic is loaded with numerous other utility features - ample cabin illumination, ratchet lever type seat height adjuster with adjustable range doubled to 50 mm, organ-type accelerator pedal for reduced fatigue during long drives, super utility centre console in addition to storage space all around the cabin, flat rear-seat floor with no centre tunnel for easier rear-passenger movement, etc.Use of adequate material along with body design and construction technology elements ensure relatively lower weight of Honda vehicles resulting in maximum safety for occupants. Brake assist is a unique safety feature in the Civic, which helps the driver achieve full braking potential of the vehicle by increasing brake system pressure in a panic situation. ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution System) stabilise car motion by dealing with varied driving situations and road conditions. The Civic's collision-safe G-CON (G-Force Control Technology) body with a crush-proof survival zone, along with Dual SRS airbags and pre-tensioner seat belts, minimise injury levels in the event of an accident. Sources at Honda claim that the impact-absorbing external body structure further ensures pedestrian safety. Front suspension is McPherson struts and the rear suspension is of the trailing arm type double-wishbone design. Situated at front, transversely, is the 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine that combines Honda's VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) technology with VTC (Variable Time Control). Known to deliver powerful performance and superior fuel economy, the i-VTEC engine in the Civic has the complete lower block made of aluminium, with sleeves treated with Molybdenum disulfide that reduces friction in the engine. The piston oil jets result in better lubrication and performance. Aluminium VTEC rocker arms, integrated cylinder head and exhaust manifold, plastic head cover and intake-manifold have helped in reducing the weight of the engine. Drive-by-wire technology further helps the accelerator motion to be conveyed to the throttle valve by electric signals ensuring faster engine response. In addition to the 5-speed manual transmission, the Civic can be had with a 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift. The paddle shift technology is derived from Honda's F1 experience claim industry sources, and enables better control and response. Positioned in between the City and the CR-V and pitted against competition that includes the Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia, the Civic is expected to further strengthen the Honda business platform in India. And the business equation does not only involve manufacturing and selling motorcycles, cars and generator sets. Takedagawa taking control of a new parts business company, Honda Motor India (Pvt) Ltd, while retaining his current responsibility as the president of Honda Siel Cars India, hints at Honda's intention to structure its Indian operation as a vital part sourcing hub of its global sourcing drive. Not at all wrong when other manufacturers, and from diverse stature are busy sourcing from India. So, if China and Thailand are currently Honda's valuable sourcing destination, India is getting there. This is nailed home by HSCI's announcement that the Civic has an initial localisation of 68 per cent, which will be ramped up to 80 per cent within the next two years. While the FTA between India and Thailand adds a new dimension to the whole process, sources in the industry claim that both the City and Civic employ a number of components that are sourced from Honda's Thai facility. They add that these components could be made in Thai, Japan or at any of the other destinations where Honda has an arrangement. As far as the Indian Civic goes, look closely at the Civic and the names of Indian suppliers come into sharp focus. Bridgestone India supplies the tubeless tyres. Abhishek Auto Industries, which is licensed by Takata Group of Japan to manufacture safety seat belts, supplies the seat belts of the Civic. Headlamps, tail lamps and trafficators are from Stanley. Standard Furukawa supplies batteries. Asahi India supplies the glass. Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd is claimed to supply the wiring harness. Industry sources claim that Showa supplies the power steering assembly of the Civic. They claim further that the assembly will soon roll out of the facility Showa is setting up at Noida near Delhi. The firm, say sources, is investing about Rs 70 crores and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Showa, Japan. Sources claim that Showa being a major supplier to Honda Motor Corporation, the facility in all probability will cater to demand primarily from Honda Siel but also from Suzuki. Among other suppliers to the Civic, according to Goro Kanemasu of Denso Corporation, Japan, his company is the supplier of radiator, starter, fuel pump module and ignition coil to the Civic. Kanemasu added, "Among the products listed above, the radiators are produced in India and other products are produced in Japan". Nissin is claimed to supply the hydraulic clutch assembly. Nichirin is claimed to supply the AC hoses. Sanden is claimed to supply the air conditioner. Alpine is claimed to supply the entertainment system. Enkei of Japan is claimed to supply the alloy wheels. Industry sources claim that Lumax Magna Donnelly Automotive Mirrors, a joint venture between Lumax Industries and Magna International, supply the door mirrors. Sources further claim that Lumax Magna Donnelly is also developing door mirrors for the Swift sedan, which is expected by early or mid-2007. Efforts to confirm the claims made by industry sources with Magna International India liaison office, however, failed to yield any results except the fact that the production at Lumax Magna Donnelly facility near Delhi has started. According to BP Shiv of Tata Ficosa, the company supplies gear shifter mechanisms to the Civic.