Honda-BR-V-Karawang

PT Honda Prospect Motor (HPM) inaugurated its first engine test bench facility in Indonesia last week. Engines were previously tested in Thailand, India or Japan, so this move will reduce costs and improve efficiency for Honda’s Indonesian operations.

The new facility, located in the West Java city of Karawang where the Honda factory is located, will be used to measure engine performance and endurance. Locally made components will also be tested there.

“The new facility will reduce the cost of production per unit of car. With the existence of the new facility, engine testing can now be carried out domestically in a relatively shorter period of time,” said HPM marketing and after sales service director, Jonfis Fandy.

Honda-BR-V-Grey

Besides the engine test bench facility, HPM is currently setting up a crankshaft factory near its Cikarang plant, with output for the Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) segment. Capable of producing up to 243,000 units a year, the factory is expected to be ready in September 2016.

Crankshafts are currently mostly imported from India, and local production will increase local content from around 70% to about 85%. Localisation is vital as the rupiah is the second-worst performing currency in the region, after Malaysia’s ringgit, and cost of imports have risen. The company is investing Rp 500 billion (RM150.9 million) in the two facilities. There are plans for a connecting-rod component factory in 2018.

The release was accompanied by an image of a Honda BR-V, which made its debut at the 2015 Gaikindo Indonesian International Auto Show (GIIAS) in August. It’s still officially billed as a “prototype”, as described on the plate, but we now get to see the “Mobilio SUV” in a different (and possibly production) trim level and colour (Modern Steel Metallic, five other colours available) from the GIIAS show cars.

Honda-BR-V-Indonesia

Compared to the show stars, this grey-coloured BR-V sits on different wheels, and the “skid plate” element on the lower front bumper is in plain black plastic instead of silver. We saw two different big multi-spoke rim designs at GIIAS, but here’s a more realistic (all Indonesian BR-Vs will ride on 16-inch alloys with 195/60 tyres) wheel in the blade-style currently favoured by Honda.

A better view is offered by the image of the white car above, released by HPM earlier. Unlike the grey unit, it has chrome on the door handles and lower body, and the “skid plate” is in silver – this could be the 1.5L Prestige, the highest of three grades that will go on sale in Indonesia. Production starts there early next year, and HPM has collected 2,500 bookings for the BR-V till end-September.

The Honda BR-V will be coming to Malaysia as well. We have full specifications of the crossover here, plus pics. Next year’s superstar?

Honda BR-V at GIIAS 2015