Unveiled as Honda’s entrant into the booming small crossover segment, the Fit-based Vezel will compete with products like the Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster in both Europe and North America, but not in emerging markets. According to a report by Autocar India, Honda will develop an all-new small crossover based on the Brio, a low-cost, locally built A-segment car, for India and other makets.
According to Honda executives, economics have made the Vezel a no-go for India, thanks to a freefall in the value of the Rupee. The Vezel, which would retail for the equivalent of $25,000, would require significant localization to be built and sold in India, and the costs and complexity would be too great. Items like the high-quality interior and the electronic parking brake would be difficult to re-engineer for local manufacturing, and re-engineering wouldn’t provide any appreciable cost savings either.
The Brio platform, which has already been altered to produce a sedan and an MPV, is a lower-cost alternative that could help a future small crossover meet its price point in emerging markets, but it would still require sufficient re-engineering to become an SUV.