Rio Gets Some Brio

Marcelo de Vasconcellos
by Marcelo de Vasconcellos
rio gets some brio

On March 17, Honda revealed its new low-cost, emerging-market, sales-busting (they hope) Brio. Well, at least in name Honda is looking for a fight as the car’s name, in Italian, means something along the lines of “fighting spirit”. Will it have a fighting chance to make it in Brazil?

According to Brazilian magazine Quatro-Rodas, Honda finally showed its market-ready Brio at Thailand’s Auto Show. Honda do Brasil has confirmed that it intends to build it at its facility in Sumaré, São Paulo state. No word though on pricing for Brazil. The deadline is also quite flexible. Honda will only confirm that it’ll be built in Brazil “until 2013” (whatever that means, let’s hope something was rost in tlansration). Honda hasn’t said yet how many of these little fighting spirit buggers they intend to move here. In the Thai market, the target has been set at 40,000. I’m no expert in that market, but at US$13,800 I expect it to have a difficult time. In Brazil, that would mean R$22,000, but I’m sure Honda has other plans.

Just one more thing on that deadline for Brazil. The compact or subcompact (take your pick) field is very crowded in Brazil. By 2013, Hyundai will have started producing and selling its i15 or 120. Toyota will have launched its Etios, too (read Bertel’s excellent article here). Not to mention that market leader Fiat’s new Palio is just a few months from launch. If Honda waits until 2013, the market will be that much more crowded (and difficult). Wonder why Honda is being so slow?

In Thailand, the baby Honda will come with a 1.2L i-Vtec mill (good for 90 ponies). Though a low-cost project, all Brios will be produced with air-bags, ABS and EBD. You can get it either with a 5-speed stick or a CVT. Honda has already confirmed that this package will suffer variations. The ones that’ll go to India will be different (read less standard equipment).

For Brazil, I’m sure we’ll get an India special if Honda intends to go mass-market. If it chooses to remain in its lofty special-pricing niche (20 percent above what everybody else charges), the market for this car will be rarified.

Finally, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but did Honda have to hit its little puppy so hard with such a big ugly stick?

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  • CJinSD CJinSD on Mar 25, 2011

    I saw a new Renault Clio with Mexican plates the other day. It was MUCH uglier than this Honda. I'd like to see this one in a color other than this hideous metal flake lizard hue. A Jaguar E-type would be Juke awful with this paint job. I don't like the ghetto taillights or the Korean side treatment much either. The roof looks pretty flat though, and that puts it ahead of every new hatchback released in the past two years as far as I'm concerned.

    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 25, 2011

      The Clio is on to its 3rd or 4th re-skin. Difficult to keep much beauty after so many nips and tucks. But naw, I respectfully disagree. The front of the Honda borders on lame. Boring it surely is. Sleep inducing. The back? The pic says it all. Why pile on?

  • Tparkit Tparkit on Mar 25, 2011

    Tiny cars for permanently poorer societies: they are coming our way.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂