Honda Cars Philippines has unveiled the first Honda City Hatchback in over 20 years. On first impressions, it's a rather promising product, and it has most of the features that made us love the Jazz. After all, this is the spiritual successor of its much-loved predecessor.
If that's the case, why didn't we get the Jazz instead? Besides, it seems more costly for an automaker to build two models within the same segment, rather than offer one model for all markets. The simple answer is this: commonality.
Aside from the floor pan (chassis), the new Honda City does not share a lot of parts with the Jazz. That means the Thai assembly line needs extensive, (and costly) retooling to accommodate its production. That is where the City Hatch comes in.
The City Hatch has a lot more in common with the City sedan. Per the manufacturer, the two models share up to 80 percent when it comes to parts and components. In turn, that drives down the cost and allows them to price the model competitively. If Honda Cars Philippines offered the Jazz instead, we can expect prices to be higher than the PHP 1,115,000 SRP that the City Hatchback offers. In the long run, it makes more sense for Honda to build a separate model.
The decision to launch the City Hatch makes sense from a regional point of view. That's because our neighbors either already have it or about to launch it. Countries that have the City Hatchback are Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Malaysia will soon get the five-door, along with Vietnam. Chances are, it might even reach East Asian countries such as India and Pakistan.
But for those who are still looking for the Jazz, Honda Cars Philippines still has it in stock. You have to act fast, though, as there are not a lot of them left. As for those who are curious about the City Hatchback, it's a good time to check it out.