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Honda keen on low-cost bike

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on December 18, 2014

Raring to go Keita Muramatsu and YS Guleria of Honda at the launch of the CB Unicorn 160 in the capital. RAMESH SHARMA

CEO Keita Muramatsu hints at more affordable options soon

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India is eyeing the low-cost space in two-wheelers as part of its efforts to emerge the top player in the country.

“We are working on low-cost models both in motorcycles and scooters. However, it is not easy as low-cost would mean low performance and we will not do that. Our R&D team is working on developing something new and we are investing in this,” Keita Muramatsu, President and Chief Executive Officer, said in Delhi on Thursday.

India specific

According to him, Honda Motor Company in Japan wants different products for India that are innovative and technology-driven. Though it sells low-cost bikes in Africa, these models cannot be sold in India because of different infrastructure and trade policies prevalent here. Hence, Muramatsu added, HMSI will need to develop such products in India. At present, the market for affordable 100cc bikes (typically priced at around Rs 40,000) includes the Bajaj Platina, Hero’s HF Dawn and TVS Star City. HMSI has the CD 110 Dream which is again in this price segment. Interestingly, its Japanese rival in the ASEAN region, Yamaha, is working on a low-cost bike for India which would be the most affordable in the world.

Tipped to be priced around ₹35,000, it has also been earmarked for Africa which has been identified as the future growth region.

Future plans

Since its separation from Hero four years ago, Honda has been pulling out all stops to enhance its market presence. It has commissioned two more plants (Rajasthan and Karnataka) which will complement the Haryana facility while a fourth is being readied scheduled in Gujarat.

By the end of 2016, the company’s total capacity will be close to six million two-wheelers.

The Gujarat plant has been delayed to the fourth quarter of 2016-17 or early 2017, YS Guleria, Vice President (Sales & Marketing) said. This is because there have been (leadership) changes in the state government coupled with delays in readying the supply chain.

Though HMSI’s existing plants are operating at full capacity, this is still not enough to satiate the order backlog comprising 70,000 scooters and 20,000 motorcycles.

This is thanks to the ‘never-ending’ demand which Guleria said the company was doing its best to meet.

Meanwhile, HMSI launched the all-new CB Unicorn 160 which will hit the market next month. The brand was launched a decade ago and cumulative sales so far have been nearly 1.5 million units.

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Published on December 18, 2014
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