Though Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India have been eyeing the growing mid-size (300-500-cc) motorcycle for a while, they are approaching the premium bike business with newfound zeal now.
Currently, the strategy for Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has been to focus on mass products. They are the country’s leading scooter maker with close to 55 per cent market share, having sold 17.32 lakh scooters in H1 2019. With the recent emergence of the mid-size motorcycle segment, Honda are taking serious measures to capture the locally-manufactured premium motorcycle space.
Earlier this year, HMSI had launched the Honda BigWing showrooms to cater exclusively to their premium offerings which included the new CB300R, the CB1000R, the CBR650R, the CBR1000RR Fireblade and Fireblade SP, the Africa Twin adventure tourer and the iconic GL1800 GoldWing luxury tourer. For now, these high-end motorcycles are being imported to the country as CBU (Completely Built Units) and CKD (Completely Knocked Down) units.
Now Honda are planning to introduce a new range of locally produced mid-size motorcycles to compete with the segment-leader, Royal Enfield. To ensure a smooth take-off of this new project, the Japanese auto giant have hand-picked a 15-member team of senior executives who have a good understanding of big bikes and the niche segment. This team is being headed by Yogesh Phogat, who was formerly with Ducati India and prior to that with Harley-Davidson India. The idea is to bring a fresh approach to the mid-size motorcycle business and create a dedicated sales, marketing and after-sales ecosystem. Apart from this, in the coming 18 months, Honda are also looking at setting up about 100 specialised outlets which would include 22 of the BigWing outlets. (Also Read: Honda Launch BigWing Vertical)
While speaking to a leading business daily, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing, HMSI revealed that the company is approaching the premium bike business with the new energy and zeal than ever before, not to be mixed with the mass-market approach. He said that pricing is going to be a key consideration for increasing the volumes and viability of HMSI dealers. The vital piece of information is that Honda is working on a locally produced model so that the project remains a viable one.
Several of the global motorcycle majors are already working on new strategies and 300-500-cc motorcycle models for India. Joint ventures such as Bajaj-Triumph and TVS-BMW are already vying to get a share of the pie; while Harley-Davidson will be introducing smaller and more affordable motorcycles to compete in the segment which currently stands at 8 lakh-plus units per year and is dominated by Royal Enfield. (Also Read: Honda CB500 F and X twins at EICMA)
Source: The Economic Times