According to news-reports Honda has decided to put curtains to their premium hatchback Honda Jazz. Honda Jazz launched in 2009 was the most expensive petrol hatchback available in the Indian market. The brand was priced in the range of Rs 8- 9 Lakh which was at par with lot of mid-segment sedans.
Although the brand had impeccable Honda Quality, the aggressive pricing made consumers give a luke-warm response to this brand. Only the hard-core Honda fans who wanted exclusivity opted for Jazz.
In 2011, Honda decided to rationalize the pricing of Jazz and reduced the price by almost Rs 1.5 lakh. Despite the price -drop, Jazz was quite expensive and the move was little too late.
The shifting of Indian consumers to diesel cars coupled with new launches and offers from quality brands made Jazz less relevant to Indian consumer. The diesel-focused Indian car market has been giving lot of problems for Honda . 2013 will see Honda entering the diesel car market with its Amaze brand. Honda is also rejigging its product offering and Jazz did not fit into the new plans. Although reports suggest a relaunch of Jazz in 2014, the brand is now dead for all practical purpose.
Things would have been different if diesel and petrol prices were the same in India. Had it been like that Jazz would have found some takers . But the huge price differential between diesel and petrol is giving nightmares to companies like Honda who was late in developing diesel engines for India. I thought that Jazz would come with the diesel version once Amaze is launched but surprisingly Honda decided to kill this brand and concentrate on the new launch.
Jazz is a lesson for marketers who in their aggression turn a blind eye towards value. Brands should first convince the customers about the value it offers and then take pride in that. But being aggressive just because there is a well respected brand name is a big mistake.