Honda has joined Toyota in the Indian small car race, announcing that it will also unveil a micro concept at the New Delhi Auto Expo in January.
Known simply as the New Small Concept (NSC), Honda says the car is being developed for emerging markets with its Indian affiliate Honda Siel Cars India and will be smaller than its Jazz and City models.
Toyota stated its intentions of previewing a similar vehicle in Delhi around two weeks ago.
Codenamed the EFC for Entry Family Car, Toyota has since revealed it will be called the Etios, which means “the origin of”.
It is believed Toyota will show both sedan and hatch versions of the Etios at the Auto Expo before the release of the sedan in late 2010 and the higher-volume hatch around three months later.
A 1.4-litre diesel from overseas Yaris models will power the Etios along with Toyota’s 1.3-litre K3 petrol engine which may be downsized to 1.2 litres to meet Indian regulations.
Insiders admit the car will be built to cost with hard interior plastics and a single windscreen wiper, but say maintaining a quality feel and high NVH standards have been a goal from the outset.
Neither the Etios or the NSC will directly take on the $2435 Tata Nano, but with prices expected to start around double that mark, both will be well equipped to expand out of India into other emerging markets.
(with Edmunds Inside Line)