Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Honda Jazz: The Passion of Purists!

Honda Jazz

With the launch of the Jazz just around the corner, the internet has been witness to the sparks that have flown regarding the latest Honda product that will soon grace Indian roads.

Being in the limelight is a tough job, for amongst all the praises there are sure to be those who don't agree. With the Honda Jazz, fame has not been any different. The car has been commended for its good looks, Honda DNA, performance and expectations, yet all hell broke loose when the tentative pricing of the Honda Jazz leaked out.

The internet fraternity literally took to their computers to share with the world their views about the pricing. We at Zigwheels have received a lot of mail and article comments regarding the same, and there is no doubt that the Honda Jazz pricing is one of the most awaited news tidbits that the Indian auto enthusiast is waiting for.
(But before we get into what the pricing should be and what Honda ought to do, let me indulge you for a bit about the Jazz itself.

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz might be Honda's smallest offering in India, but by no means is it a small car. It is a hatchback by design, yet its dimensions lend it a rather large look-sort of the new age look for upper end premium hatchbacks that offer everything a midsize sedan offers, yet manage to fit in crowded streets with elan. Set to come in with a 1.2 litre petrol engine, don't misjudge the Jazz as a lackluster performer. The 1.2 litre engine is as an extremely tech savvy piece of machinery that is designed to offer enhanced mileage and excellent power delivery throughout the torque band. One thing that everyone can agree on is that Honda knows engines like nobody else.

Honda Jazz

Further to this, the Jazz offers great driving dynamics, its well suited for the urban environment, it offers oodles of style and knowing Honda's packaging, it will come with a host of goodies. Of course the launch and subsequent tests of the Jazz will shed more light on just what this car offers, but for right now, there is little to argue in terms of negative aspects considering the build and quality of the Honda Jazz.

What does set off an argument is the pricing on the car. The fate of the Jazz seems to be decided prior to its launch itself, however it is important to note that the company is yet to reveal the exact price of the car, but speculation has it that the car will not be cheap.

From the looks of it, the Jazz is heading right in the direction that the Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia went at the time of their launch. Charging a premium for a hatchback in India does not seem like a good idea to most, and the comments on stories regarding the Hyundai i20, Skoda Fabia and the Honda Jazz highlight this point. Is it because we equate value for money with size? Or are we willing to look deeper into the product to actually understand why it is priced in the manner that it is?

One staunch view is to blatantly claim that the vehicle is overpriced just because it falls in a category where cars have had prices that are substantially lower. The other view is to actually understand the product, its build quality, the materials used, the accessories offered, safety equipment, creature comforts and on top of that factor in the government regulations for that particular segment. A third view on this whole pricing debate can also be looked at from a standpoint of evolution. Is the Indian hatchback market expanding? Are we witnessing the rise of a new segment in ultra premium hatchbacks?

No doubt, everyone is entitled to their own views, however a deeper, more informed notion about a vehicle is what will reveal an honest answer. An old saying says, "Don't judge a book by its cover." This applies to cars as well. Take a better look, get a proper understanding of what the car offers, be it a hatchback, sedan, luxury car or even an SUV, an informed understanding will always reveal more.

What should Honda do? Well, this is frankly up to them to decide on what is best for their company and product. Product pricing is always a sensitive issue and will always be open to debate. Right now it is a wait and watch game on what the Jazz is actually priced at. How will the market take to it, and what is going to be the reaction of buyers who have this car on their wish list. Time is the best story teller, and time will reveal the facts.

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