The 1.5-litre i-MMD full-hybrid Honda City e:HEV, which Malaysians will know as the Honda City RS (will only go on sale in January 2021), was launched in Thailand yesterday alongside the Honda City Hatchback, which also made its global debut yesterday.
The City Hatchback will replace the Honda Jazz in the Asia-Ocenia region, as the bulbous looking fourth generation Honda Jazz was deemed to be a bit too radical for local users to accept.
But back to the three-box sedan City e:HEV. The model is identical to our City RS, wearing the same e:HEV badge but Honda Malaysia has decided to market it with the simpler RS name rather than e:HEV, which as you can imagine, is quite a mouthful to repeat. Honda sales person can heave a collective sigh of relieve.
Like our City RS, Thailand’s City e:HEV also comes with LaneWatch blind spot detecting camera, same 8-inch infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Honda’s signature Sensing suite of advanced driving assistance (ADAS) features, as well as rear air-conditioning vents.
Thailand market cars support the Honda Connect vehicle telematics feature, which we don't have (yet), but let's focus just on the car.
The only difference is that Thai buyers of the City e:HEV get additional colour options, Crystal Black Pearl and Obsidian Blue Pearl.
Malaysian buyers also get the Crystal Black Pearl colour option, just not on the range topping RS variant, which is limited to just three colour options – Platinum White Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, and Passion Red Pearl. The latter is a brighter, more expensive shade than Thailand’s Ignite Red Metalic.
For the Accord, the colour was dropped in a mid-lifecycle reduction in colour options, from five to four, while for the CR-V, the colour was replaced with Passion Red Pearl.
Colour options are always changing, depending on demand. Obsidian Blue was dropped for obvious reasons – it wasn’t popular enough.
To maintain a high level of efficiency at the production plant, the factory’s paint shop should ideally offer the same colour options to all models.
While providing more colour options is good for consumers, it’s bad for a plant’s workflow processes, as the paint shop – probably the most energy consuming part of the plant - will need to temporarily stop work, flush out the tanks and spray equipment, before it can switch to a new colour.
With more colour options, this process will need to be repeated more frequently, even if just for a single car.
Like fashion, colour demand trends are always in a flux. What’s unpopular yesterday, may become popular tomorrow, so car companies are always studying demand trend for colours. If you like the 2020 Honda City but prefer it in blue, let your dealer know. With enough demand, the colour might make a return.