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Honda has GenNext hooked to Navi

MURALI GOPALAN | Updated on January 20, 2018

Youth appeal The average Navi buyer is 19-24 years old, says Honda

Company plans to spread reach to 35 cities by June-end

It was among the top eye-catchers at the Delhi Auto Expo this year and, today, the Navi is quickly building up a youthful customer base across India.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India began deliveries of this scooter/motorcycle early last month and 5,000 units were sold in April. On the face of it, this may seem minuscule compared to the Activa which comfortably averages over 2.3 lakh units a month but the Navi was never intended to be part of the big numbers game.

Young blood

On the contrary, this scooter/motorcycle was targeted at a niche customer base of young riders and the script seems to suggest that HMSI has got it right thus far. According to YS Guleria, Senior Vice-President (Sales & Marketing), the average age profile of the Navi buyer is 19-24 years. The Activa or Dio customer is comparatively older in the 30 plus category which puts the latest offering in a league of its own.

HMSI launched the Navi in 10 cities which included Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Chandigarh. Another 10 will be added this month while the net tally will be 35 by end-June. This two-wheeler is essentially an urban offering which also puts in perspective some interesting trends from the viewpoint of its buyer profile.

Apart from the fact that it has hit the sweet spot with India’s youth, market feedback indicates that Navi customers are from reasonably affluent backgrounds. Interestingly, they own either top-end cars or superbikes like KTM or Ducati which makes the choice of Navi quite intriguing.

Apparently, these youngsters love its funky appearance and, as Guleria says, are kicked to bits when other commuters on the road pause to have a good look at it. “It is quite a showstopper from what we can gather from market feedback so far,” he adds. What is even more heartening is that these young buyers are queuing up for the Navi’s customisation kits which include the visor, headlight protector, luggage box, side cover and so on. This behavioural pattern suggests that buyers clearly want to be seen on this bike and are delighted with the fact that it is not the usual run-of-the-mill commuter.

Wide appeal

Yet another key finding from the market is that women account for 25 per cent of Navi sales. From HMSI’s point of view, this is quite remarkable considering that its tank design is typically that of a motorcycle even while it has the riding traits of a scooter.

Social media is also playing its part in spreading the Navi message which is hardly surprising given that it is an invaluable tool for GenNext. These youngsters make a beeline for anything out of the ordinary that can stand out in a crowd. Quite unlike their conventional predecessors, they are comfortable in colourful sneakers/casual clothes and the Navi fits in perfectly with their outlook to life.

Guleria hints that there could be some marketing initiatives planned for this funky two-wheeler in the coming months. Given that top-end cruisers like Harley and Enfield have their own riding clubs, there is perhaps good reason to have something on these lines. Of course, the Navi cannot possibly emulate the long rides of these durable bikes but the irreverent attitude of its user base can still spawn a new kind of riding community.

Similarly, even while the Navi is largely a city-centric offering, there is no reason why its reach cannot spread to smaller towns in the country. Guleria reiterates that no such plans are on the anvil though the reality is that aspiration levels are the same across every nook and corner of India.

Published on May 19, 2016

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