Honda Elevate sells 43,915 units in India and Japan since launch | Autocar Professional

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Nothing like a new product giving a vehicle manufacturer a new charge and the Honda Elevate midsize SUV has helped ‘elevate’ Honda Cars India’s domestic market performance as well as exports in just seven months since launch last September.  

Launched on September 4, 2023, at a starting price of Rs 11 lakh through to Rs 15.99 lakh for the top-end variant, the Honda Elevate has turned out to be the Japanese carmaker’s second-best-selling model in FY2024 in India and accounted for 39% of Honda Cars India’s total passenger vehicle sales of 86,584 units, which includes the Amaze (36,017 units) and the City (16,925 units) sedans.

The Elevate accounted for 39% of Honda Cars India’s domestic market sales and 27% of exports (as the made-in-India WR-V to Japan) in FY2024. 

Built on Honda’s Global Small Car platform, the Elevate is benefiting from the rising demand in India for midsize SUVs and has been instrumental in bringing Honda Cars India ‘back in the game’, particularly in the booming SUV segment where it was missing on the action big time. The Indian utility vehicle industry hit record sales of over half-a-million units – 25,20,691 – and the Elevate has already given Honda a 1.33% market share compared to FY2023’s 0.24 percent.

What is creditable is that the Honda Elevate is part of a hotly contested segment where it rivals India’s best-selling midsize SUV, the Hyundai Creta, Maruti Grand Vitara, Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Kia Seltos, MG Astor, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq and the Citroen C3 Aircross.

Over 50,000 Elevate SUVs have been produced and till end-March 2024, a total of 51,214 units have rolled out of the Tapukara plant, both for the domestic market and for export (as the WR-V)

Sold in seven variants, the Honda Elevate is powered by the same 121hp, 145 Nm, 1.5-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine as in the Honda City, mated with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed CVT automatic transmission. Dimension-wise, the Elevate is 4312mm long, 1790mm wide, 1650mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2650mm. While ground clearance is 220mm, boot space is 458 litres.

On the features front, the Honda Elevate has a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a seven-inch semi-digital instrument cluster. There is also a lane-watch camera, wireless charging and a rear parking camera. Honda Cars India has given the Honda Sensing ADAS suite to the Elevate with features like a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, road departure warning and automatic high beam assist. Of its rivals, only the new Kia Seltos and MG Astor have ADAS.

Overseas shipments of the WR-V have picked up pace in Q1 2024 with 9,936 units exported in January-March 2024, dispatches growing month on month.

Over 10,000 made-in-India WR-V-badged Elevates exported to Japan  
The Elevate has also given a new charge to Honda Cars India’s export programme. The company has begun exporting the made-in-Tapukara (Rajasthan plant) SUV to Japan, where it has been badged as the ‘WR-V’ or Winsome Runabout Vehicle.

The Elevate for Japan (WR-V), which is powered by the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, looks identical to the India model but gets an all-black interior compared to the dual-tone black-and-beige cabin in the India-market Elevate. The made-for-Japan model also gets a different infotainment screen, presumably for country-specific content. 

As per export data published by SIAM, Honda Cars India has exported a total of 10,273 Elevates / WR-Vs to Japan till end-March 2024. Overseas shipments have picked up pace in the first quarter of 2024 with 9,936 units being exported in January-March 2024, growing month on month (see export data table above).

Honda Motor Co, which launched and began selling the made-in-India WR-V in Japan on March 22, 2024, has targeted monthly sales of 3,000 units, which translates into 36,000 units annually. The Elevate / WR-V exports of 10,273, which account for 27% of HCIL’s exports in FY2023, have helped improve the company’s exports performance by 66%: 37,589 units versus FY2023’s 22,710 units.

India is the first country to manufacture and sell the Elevate, which has a localisation level of more than 90%, globally. Honda’s export strategy aims to make India as an important export hub for the new model to other parts of the world, catering to the robust demand for SUVs globally.

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