2009 Bangkok International Motor Show - Honda
Earlier I gave a brief look at some of the "highlights" from Toyota's floorspace at the 2009 Bangkok International Motor Show. Right across the aisle from Toyota is Honda who seemed more interested in some "Honda Pretty" competition thing, than they did their cars. Anyway that's the way of things at the Bangkok Motor Show, and to be fair Honda needed something to take the attention off the lack of new metal.
In Honda's defense, they have a pretty fresh line-up already. The Honda Civic is at mid-life, and has recently received some minor changes. The CR-V, Accord, Jazz and City are still relativity new to the market.
The highlights for Honda were the inclusion of the new 2nd generation Insight, and the Freed. The Insight is Honda's return to the dedicated Hybrid market that it started. The original Insight is still the champ when it comes to fuel usage, but it isn't the most practical family car, with only two seats. The new Insight might not be as light on fuel, but it is a 5-seat hatchback with all the creature comforts you would expect.
Honda has cleverly undercut the Prius II on price, and this has helped the Insight to be an immediate success in Japan and the US. We can expect to see the Insight on Thai roads but only via 3rd party import companies, and pricing will be up around the THB 2 million mark.
We can only hope that Honda will eventually look to producing the Insight in Thailand to allow the prices to become reasonable. As it stands, a Jazz is a much better buy. It doesn't matter how much fuel the Insight saves you, you will never make up the price difference over a Jazz, or City.
The Freed is of more immediate interest to the Thai market, as there is a very strong chance it will make its way here via Indonesia. The Freed is a 5, 7 or 8-seat Mini-MPV which should go head-to-head with the Toyota Avanza, but will offer much more car-like handling and comfort.
The Avanza is also built in Indonesia for the Asian market, and if Honda can bring the Freed to Thailand in the same price range THB 600,000 - THB 750,000, then the Freed will be a certain hit.
Unfortunately Honda are allowing us to only look, but not touch the new Freed, so no comments on the quality. However, it does look to be what we've come to expect from Honda, regardless of where they are produced.
More news of the Freed when we have it.
Related articles: Read more about the 2009 Bangkok International Motor Show