I own a Honda Jazz since late 2010. It is close to 5 years now and am an extremely proud and satisfied owner of this car. It would be wrong to say that this is completely different from any other car I have driven. But nevertheless, Jazz has a uniqueness that makes it special and as an owner, you stand out from the rest of the crowd. It was a sad feeling to see this car kept out of Honda offering in India for past 3 years.
What makes Jazz different from other cars in India
Quality, looks & features – these are highly subjective things. Cars like I20, Swift, Polo & Punto are all built to be rock solid. Quality of components used is really high and it is difficult to rank these cars based on quality. Looks – very subjective and what appeals to one customer might not appeal to other. Importance of features is also customer specific – some like integrated audio system while others like to put them from outside market. For some, steering mounted controls are important while for others, this is not a big deal.
Where Jazz beats all it competitors without any doubt is in one offering – space. Open the trunk and you will be shocked to know the amount of luggage it can store. With highly flexible seats, this space increases even more. No other hatchback offers such trunk space and cabin space. Period.
What is on offer in 2015?
When I eventually heard of it getting launched in India in July 2015, I was very excited. This time, I really hoped Honda gets its pricing right. Because this is such a great car and a lot of customers in India would love it, if priced appropriately. But first, lets look at some of the features that a car like Jazz offers. I mapped it against the trims on offer so that we get an idea of what trims actually give customer value for their money – and competition a run for its money.
Prices mentioned above are the on road price in Bangalore as per one of the dealer website. Price include registration, taxes, insurance etc – the final amount you would be paying.
How Honda messed up the features this time
It is very obvious that the E and S trims are being offered only to meet the price band that the competition is putting their products at. Honda made a mess of things here – if you want to beat your competition, create a market for yourself. Customers will follow you. Jazz was supposed to be a car that is very different from its competition – models E and S just nullified that strategy. Even SV trim is a waste of print space and floor space in the dealer showrooms.
And then, they got the pricing wrong
Pricing is a very important thing that decides the fate of a product, though not the only thing. If pricing alone decides what a customer buys, only Tata Nano and Suzuki Alto would be sold in India. People want more features, they want to pay more for those features, but they want to pay the right amount.
If you are looking for Petrol Manual version, the reason for going with Honda is its quality and you would obviously expect some good features. Jazz gives you that quality and features – but only in the V trim. This costs a whopping 8.6 lacs on road Bangalore. I paid little less than that in 2010 for a Jazz with similar features – and that too when that car was stated to be overpriced. So, what changed in 2015? Same features, same price. Has Honda learnt nothing in 5 years?
If you are looking for the Automatic model, again, the V trim is your best bet. And you have to pay 9.6 lacs for it. CVT with Paddle Shift could have been the killer offering from Honda. No other Hatchback in India has this. People would have flooded their showrooms for the CVT w/ Paddle Shift model – IF THEY HAD PRICED IT RIGHT.
To sum it all, sorry Honda, you got it wrong this time as well. Yes, first couple of months you could sell few thousand Jazz. But after that, it will be the same story as Mobilio and Brio. With such dumb feature+price strategy, you guys will only be selling Amaze and City in this country.