If you’re reading this, you would know by now that the fifth generation GN series 2020 Honda City has just been launched in Malaysia.
The 2-motor i-MMD e:HEV RS variant also made its world debut in Malaysia, and yes it’s locally-assembled too, with locally-assembled high voltage battery pack that Honda refers to as IPU (Intelligent Power Unit).
Prices start from RM 74,191 for the entry S variant, which is cheaper than the previous generation model by about RM 1k, both SST-exempted prices.
The glaring omission is of course the range topping RS variant. There’s no price list for the RS yet, which will only be delivered to customers starting January 2021.
When asked to comment on the matter, Honda Malaysia’s President and Chief Operating Officer Mr. Sarly Adle Sarkum explained that government have been very efficient in expediting the price approvals for the City, as evident by the quick launch of the City – just 2 months after initial announcement by Honda Malaysia – impressive considering this challenging Covid-19 period.
However, the RS variant, which is a different RS from the one sold in Thailand as ours is a hybrid - a first in the world for this fifth-generation City, requires a longer development lead time, and Covid-19 related issues are complicating matters.
Sarly said, “Originally we wanted to launch the City at a much earlier date, in July but because of Covid, things were pushed back. I have to commend the team because they did a marvelous job in bringing forward the launch, and not only that I would like to make a special mention and thanks to the government of Malaysia, particularly the Ministry of Finance and of course MITI and also supporting agencies - MARii and MIDA - for understanding the plight of the OEMs like Honda, and this time we were really on track for approvals on pricing.
“But for the RS, unfortunately because of the developments [required] and Covid, the timing is pushed back.”
Delays in price approvals have been a topic of contention among many car companies, with some saying that it took up to 6 months to get their price lists approved. The issue is being addressed but with Covid-19, the government has more pressing matters to deal with.
To be clear, the government doesn’t control car prices in any way, contrary to popular opinion. Car companies are free to sell their products at any price they want.
Where government approvals are required is when a car company wants to apply for discounts on excise duty, which a manufacturer can do if the model is locally-assembled. The Industrial Linkage Program (ILP) offers rebates on excise duties depending on the value of local content used and investments made.
The Honda City is locally-assembled at Pegoh, and Honda Malaysia has invested in a new facility to produce IPUs (Intelligent Power Unit) – essentially a high voltage battery pack and associated control systems – which is a first of its kind facility in Malaysia.
Now the next question is, can we know the price of the Proton X50 already?