When Honda Malaysia launched the Jazz Hybrid first at RM94,800 and then lowered it to RM89,800 after commencing local assembly, Malaysia had the unique distinction of being the only market in the world which the Jazz Hybrid is sold at a lower price than its petrol-powered counterpart. The Jazz 1.5 petrol had entered our market at price points north of RM100k, but a specced-down Grade S version was introduced last year that made it more affordable.
Fully imported from Thailand, the petrol-powered Jazz 1.5 Grade S was priced at RM99,800 inclusive of insurance. That price is now history, however, as Honda Malaysia has today announced the immediate availability of a locally assembled Jazz priced at a scarcely believable RM74,800. In fact, it is also scarcely believable that Honda actually commenced local assembly of the Jazz this late in its model life cycle. The R&D team responsible for putting this car together has in fact been dissolved, and leaked Japanese brochures of the next generation model have already surfaced online.
Unlike the Jazz Hybrid CKD which came with a lower kit count than the imported model, the local Jazz 1.5 has all the equipment of its Thai-made counterpart, with one exception – auto door lock. The reason this feature was omitted, we were told, is to comply with UNECE safety regulations, which require cars with auto door lock to also have an auto-release feature in the event of a crash. Because the Jazz’s auto door lock does not incorporate the auto-release function, Honda Malaysia had to delete the feature altogether.
At this point, readers may wonder how is it that Honda is able to effect a RM25k price reduction on the Jazz Petrol whilst retaining the same amount of kit, but at the same time had to delete a substantial amount of items from the Jazz Hybrid just to facilitate a RM5k reduction. The answer lies in the much talked-about excise duty, specifically the rebates handed back to car companies that set up local assembly and R&D operations in the country.
The simple fact is that it can actually cost more to assemble a car locally in Malaysia than to import it from Thailand. Without rebates given back to the car companies through the Industrial Adjustment Fund (IAF), it can be difficult to build a business case to assemble cars here in Malaysia. The IAF rebates effectively help Honda reduce the net excise duty paid for the Jazz Petrol, and this excise duty reduction then offsets the higher local production costs, thus facilitating the generous price reduction. This was not the scenario for the Jazz Hybrid, which already pays no excise duty to start with.
It is important to note, however, that the CKD Jazz Petrol’s pricing is achieved based on the existing price mechanism and not any new Government initiatives to lower motor vehicle prices. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry had stated very clearly that the Government will not reduce motor vehicle excise duties to facilitate the price reductions that were promised before the recent general elections.
To recap, the Jazz Petrol is powered by a 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Notable features include Ultra Seats, 15″ alloy wheels, front fog lights, dual airbags, ABS, EBD, VSA, and 3-point Emergency Locking Retractor safety belts. Customers seeking an added level of personalization can opt for the Urban accessories package and/or the Modulo bodykit priced at RM2,550 and RM3,950 respectively.
After sales of the Jazz CKD is covered by a 3-year / 100,000km warranty and a 6-month / 10,000km free service package. Recommended service interval remains at 5,000km.