After 25 years and five generations, Honda's City is still ploughing ahead. Here is a trip through the path taken by the City.
The City still sells: Many mid-range sedans have come and gone, but no other sedan has been around for 25 years. Several vehicles like Suzuki Baleno, Suzuki SX4, Ford Escort, Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Fiesta, Opel Astra, Chevrolet Optra, Daewoo Cielo, Tata Indigo, Tata Manza, Fiat Sienna, Fiat Linea, and Hyundai Accent have come and gone. There are several more that have been completely forgotten. But Honda City, still remains a crowd favourite.
9 lakh units sold: To date, nine lakh cities have been sold in India and exported from here. India is the City's largest market in Asia and accounts for 28% of Asian sales. The Honda e:HEV- EV Hybrid launched this year is the first star of the electric-hybrid generation.
Hatchback: The first City sedan we saw was a small hatchback reminiscent of the old Maruti 800. The next generation was also a hatchback. The second generation of the City, which came in 1986, was slightly larger, but stuck to its three-door hatch design.
Indian entry: The City that was launched in Japan in 1996 came to India in 1998. Upgraded as a sedan on the Civic platform, the City was a perfect little sedan. The City then came in two modern engine options of 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter. It never came in two petrol engines again.
Generations: In 2003, the City came in a futuristic look, and this second-generation sedan became a regular sight on the roads in the country. With a 1.5-litre petrol engine and India's first CVT transmission, the City II was well received. This model was also the first that got an ABS feature.
The third version: ABS and airbags became standard in the City that came later. Like the first generation, this is a model that car enthusiasts and car collectors wanted to own. Some complained about a change in the model so soon, until they saw the new City.
The fourth: In 2014, the City got a diesel engine. Apart from the 1.5 petrol, a diesel of the same capacity was also introduced. It was the most successful City and became synonymous with modernity. About 2.76 lakh units of the City were sold.
Fifth generation: The fifth generation of Honda City was launched in July 2020. The new City continues to lead the way with superior technology, comfort and design. The concept of the connected car was a first in this segment. The City was India's first connected car with Alexa remote capability. Another highlight was the City e:HEV, India's first hybrid electric model.
Sales in Kerala: Among tier one cities, the City has the highest sales in New Delhi, while in tier 2 and 3 cities, Kerala has the highest sales -- in Kochi and Kollam. The natives of Gold's own country see the City as a blessed car. A car that can be owned by any professional or businessman. A car that can be parked alongside any Rolls Royce, the honour owned by the Ambassador in the past.
Network: In 1998, there were 12 dealers in 11 cities and now there are 330 dealerships in 242 cities. Even small towns have at least two dealerships. The City is growing. There is still a lot more to grow.