Honda used to have a compact MPV called the Honda Mobilio which was similiar to the likes of the Grand Livina and the Toyota Passo Sette, where a B-segment monocoque car was stretched and made into a 7-seater compact vehicle. The Mobilio was based on the Honda Jazz/City platform but its styling was just too Japanese and model clinics conducted in this region resulted in not too favorable responses.
Now with the Honda Freed, there is a product that could be suitable for this region. I know alot of you have also noticed this when it was unveiled last year and many speculated that it would eventually end up on Malaysian shores, and now there is a strong possibility that might just happen! This is because Honda has announced that it will be building the Honda Freed in Indonesia at its plant in Karawang beginning June 2009, and exports to multiple Southeast Asia countries will begin by the end of the year.
Parts and components for the Indonesian-built Honda Freed will be procured from multiple ASEAN countries including Malaysia, which could be plastic components according to sources. Parts will also come from the Thailand and Philippines, making this a truly made in ASEAN car. We could see the Freed introduced in Malaysia next year or even by the end of this year, but that all depends on market conditions and the results of studies by Honda Malaysia’s product team.
In fact, if you look back not too long ago we see the Honda Stream getting a minor makeover with a small bump in price, that could be to make way for a new Honda Freed MPV inserted right below it in the product range.
With the MPV segment here so crowded and the Proton Exora and Perodua MPV all set to take a huge chunk of the segment, and combined with the recession, Honda may be entering the game too late, but in small numbers it will fulfill the niche of those who want a Honda-branded MPV and the typical associated values that Honda applies to its products.
What we know for sure is if it comes, it will be a Honda, so it won’t be cheap. Anyway please check out our previous coverage on the Honda Freed when it was first unveiled to see more photos of it including shots of the interior, or look after the jump for a few videos.
New Honda Freed MPV with up to 8 seats
VIDEO: Honda Freed Japanese TVC
VIDEO: Random Japanese person on the Honda Freed’s cabin
VIDEO: Honda Freed features explained by a Japanese dude