Honda Mobilio Targets Indonesian Market, Has Higher Ground Clearance

Image: Honda Mobilio Targets Indonesian Market, Has Higher Ground Clearance

Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 11:57 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The Honda Mobilio was unveiled Thursday at the Indonesia International Motor Show in Jakarta, a multipurpose vehicle meant specifically for the Asian market.

The Jakarta Globe reported that the Mobilio's higher ground clearance is widely preferred by Indonesian car buyers to match local road conditions, particularly in rural areas. Honda's most popular vehicle here, the Jazz, has a lower ground clearance.

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The Mobilio will carry a price tag from $13,300 to $16,000.

"This is the first time Honda developed a prototype especially designed for the Indonesian market," Takanobu Ito, president and chief executive of Honda Motor, told the Jakarta Globe.

The Mobilio is Honda's latest attempt to cut into Toyota and Daihatsu's lead in the growing Indonesian auto market. Tomoki Uchida, president director of Honda Prospect Motor, the carmaker’s local unit, told the Globe that Honda plans to increase its Indonesian production capacity to 200,000 units per year in 2014.

"Imagine driving a CVT-equipped tall Civic wagon and you've pretty well nailed the Mobilio experience," said John Phillips of Car and Driver magazine. "Its 2,800 pounds are apparently enough to overwhelm its 89 horses. What this handsome shoe box wants is Honda's 2.4-liter four, as found in our CR-V and Element."

Car and Driver said the Mobilio has three rows of seats while Honda claims it can fit seven people. The magazine calls its price tag "a three-base steal."

"This vanette is most notable for a cockpit as beautifully finished as any American Acura's — a warm and harmonious blend of velour, pebbled vinyl, brushed aluminum, and fake wood," Phillips said for Car and Driver. "The Mobilio is every bit as refined as the Nissan Cube — with which it directly competes — although not as sporty."

Jonfis Fandy, marketing director at Honda Prospect Motor, declined to reveal its target sales goals for the Mobilio. Fandy told the Globe that the Honda Brio, a sub-compact hatchback, is expected to help boost the company sales in Indonesia, too.

Honda recently introduced the Brio Satya there to take advantage of the government’s Low-Cost Green Car tax reduction plan. The Association of Indonesian Automotive Industries said Honda sold 62,010 cars between January and August this year, according to the Jakarta Globe.

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