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by Tim Beissmann

Honda Australia has its eye on the micro-sized Honda Brio and says the entry-level hatchback could be priced from as low as $13,000 if given the green light for our market.

The Thai- and Indian-built Brio sits below the Honda Jazz in the global line-up and would compete with the likes of the Holden Barina Spark and Nissan Micra as well as the upcoming Volkswagen Up! and Skoda Citigo if it was introduced to Australia.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins confirmed the five-door Brio was on the radar for our market.

“We’re looking at it; we look at everything and that’s one of them,” Collins said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done on that as to where we go, but yeah, we’re looking at it.”

Collins says he see lots of potential in the ‘sub-light’ segment in Australia and expects it to grow as more models are introduced and motorists demand even smaller cars.

“Clearly it’s hugely price sensitive and generally you’re up against the Koreans and potentially the Chinese and others, but our view is that that market will grow.

“Whether we can deliver Brio competitively is what we’re working on as a business case. If it stacks up I think we could do it.”

With the entry-level Jazz GLi priced from $14,990, Collins admitted balancing the Brio’s price and specifications would be a fine art.

“$13,000 is probably close to the mark, but … we’re not going to compromise on some key things, we’re not going to just strip everything out of it and make it a poverty pack.

“Delivering a car at $13,000 with some of those values is not easy [but] not impossible, so we’ll see what happens.”

A local launch is still a fair way off, however, with Collins admitting discussions about its introduction are still in the early stages. Despite this, he says the Brio could arrive in showrooms relatively quickly if and when it gets the all clear.

“I think we’ve shown that when we re-sourced a few cars from Japan when the Thailand factory went down we pretty much did that in record time so I don’t think it would take years.

“If we make the decision – and in fact we don’t even have a timetable for a decision yet – if it was a goer then we’d want to get it here pretty quickly.”

At 3610mm long, 1680mm wide, 1470mm tall and riding on a 2345mm wheelbase, the Brio is 65mm shorter (30mm shorter wheelbase), 83mm wider and 79mm lower than the Barina Spark.

The Brio is powered by a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 66kW of power and 110Nm of torque. It is available with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and returns fuel consumption of around 5.0 litres per 100km.

The name Brio means cheerful and energetic in Italian.




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