It felt like it was yesterday when I was attending the GK5-generation Honda Jazz’s launch and its subsequent media drive, but truth is it has been slightly over six years since the model was introduced in Malaysia.
Why not the all-new GR-generation Honda Jazz you ask?
Simple – the all-new, fourth-generation GR-generation Honda Jazz is seen as too radical for consumers in emerging markets to accept. Never mind the fancy two-spoke steering wheel, even its very simplistic, clutter-free interior, and cutesy exterior design doesn’t jive with consumers over here.
But this formula works very well for consumers in Europe, China, and Japan – the three markets that currently sell the GR-generation Jazz.
Closer to home, what consumers in this region want is their cars to project a very masculine image, even if it’s just a B-segment hatchback – which the GR-generation Jazz clearly isn’t.
As such, diverse needs of users in different parts of the world has driven Honda to develop the City Hatchback and Jazz, both of which cater to different demographics.
Honda City and Honda City Hatchback – Greater commonality for lower cost
Another reason why the Honda Jazz had to make way for the City Hatchback lies with the manufacturing process.
While the outgoing GK5-generation Jazz and now-discontinued GM6-generation City shared similar hardware, commonality between the all-new GN-series City and City Hatchback will be even more – not only both cars share a same front-end, even the dashboard is identical for both.
Commonality of parts between the City and City Hatchback will drive cost down, as cost per unit will be even lower as individual parts’ volume go up. In fact, this move also simplifies parts purchasing, warehousing, and after-sales.
Honda isn’t the first, Toyota has already perfected this formula
If this move sounds familiar, you’re not wrong, as Toyota has cleverly employed this trick with the Toyota Vios and Toyota Yaris – both cars share a similar front-end and interior, while the rear-end is different.
In fact, the Toyota Yaris has already overtaken the Jazz as the best-selling non-national B-segment hatchback, further emphasizing the notion that it’s quicker and easier to replace the Jazz with the City Hatchback, mirroring the same formula as the Vios and Yaris twin.
With all said and done, don’t let the new City Hatchback fool you to think that it is worse off than the Jazz – because it’s not. Like the Honda Jazz, the City Hatchback also gets the flexible Ultra Seats for added practicality.
When will the City Hatchback arrive in Malaysia?
The Honda City Hatchback made its global debut in Thailand back in November 2020. Factoring in the lead-time required for local assembly and local parts sourcing, a late-2021 debut is likely.