We doubt Honda sees the need to bring a hatchback smaller than the Fit to North America, but such a vehicle makes plenty of sense in certain markets, especially in countries like Thailand and India. As a result, the company's working to ready the new Brio -- a small, A-segment hatchback -- for production in Asia.
Look familiar? It should, if you happened to lay eyes on the New Small Car concept, which debuted at the New Delhi Auto Expo held this January. The production intent Brio -- still dubbed a prototype by Honda officials at this stage -- looks quite a bit like the show car, save for the lack of tricked-out headlamps, flush door handles, wild wheels, and the typical conceptual flourishes.
The Brio may bear some resemblance to the global Fit/Jazz model line, but is much smaller. At 142.1 inches in length, the Brio is more than a foot shorter than the already compact Fit, while its width and height measure in at 66.1 and 58.1 inches, respectively. Honda claims passenger volume is maximized, (there's reportedly room for five adults within), thanks to strategic placement of mechanical components. We've yet to hear just what powertrain Honda packs in this mighty mite, but we wouldn't be surprised if it uses an engine smaller than the 1.5-liter I-4 found in U.S.-spec Fit models.
Thus far, Honda has committed to offering the Brio in both India and Thailand -- but seeing as both markets have two differing sets of customer needs and expectations, Honda will alter content, trim, and powertrain choices to suit. In India, the Brio will be positioned as an eco-friendly vehicle, while Honda plans on selling it as a basic, affordable vehicle in India.
Thai-spec Brio models are expected to roll into showrooms by March 2011, carrying a price tag of roughly $13,000 USD. Pricing for Indian Brio models has yet to be announced, but Honda plans on introducing that variant later in 2011. Should pricing remain affordable, the Brio may quickly become a credible competitor to the likes of the Nissan Micra, Ford Figo, and Suzuki Maruti, and help Honda further expand its global presence.