Honda and Hyundai both entered the Indian market around the same time (‘95 and ‘96) and since then, Hyundai has undoubtedly trekked its way up to the heart of Indian consumer while Honda has had its own rocky path.
Hyundai with a current portfolio of 12 cars has the 2nd spot and ~17% market share in the otherwise Maruti Suzuki dominated Indian PV market.
I think there are 3 main reasons why Honda, despite being a technologically advanced and globally acknowledged company couldn’t win the Indian market:
Loose Brand Vision:
Honda entered India with Honda Civic, the luxury sedan and soon after launched Honda city- till now its most selling product. It established an image of a premium brand – a brand that was accessible to elite and hence a dream.
Honda compromised on this image by launching mass targeted small cars like Brio, Jazz and Amaze (which later became a taxi car) severely affecting the image and sales of its premium cars. Then again in 2015, Honda shifted its focus to what it does best – Premium and Elite. Honda vs Hyundai