Honda has plans to be India’s largest 2-wheeler manufacturer by 2020, which possibly explains their two pronged attacks on the Indian market, with products like Africa Twin to win over the more premium segments of the market. While products like the Navi and their new Cliq scooter have been specifically designed to attack the segment bottom-up, it leaves Honda with their mid-segment, which starts with bikes like the Dream Neo and the CD100, both of which are dated re-renders of an old product. The problem continues all the way up to the Hornet which is the only new(ish) bike in their portfolio. As the Indian consumer matures and starts wanting more premium products, older and dated products seem less likely to succeed. Meanwhile, the Activa continues to be the backbone of the company's sales in India have sold more than a crore and a half vehicles since its launch last year.
Which is why Honda’s offerings at the Auto Expo next year will make clear Honda’s agenda for the next two years. While our sources at Honda reveal that talks are still on for finalising the machines, they will ultimately showcase these products at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo. Here is our theory of products, that we think Honda will bring to the table based on their renewed strategy and some fleeting inputs from a source close to the developments.
Honda Grom 125
There’s been a bit of a shuffle on the interwebs, of a Honda Grom spotted in India. Our sources at Honda have said that while it is likely to be out on test as part of an R&D process for another motorcycle based on a similar platform, it is unlikely that the Grom will be part of Honda’s India plan. Especially, considering they already have the Navi on offer in terms of a small convenient fun motorcycle.
The Honda Scoopy is an automatic scooter that was also spotted on test alongside the Grom at around the same time. Now the Scoopy uses Honda’s much acclaimed 110cc motor (of Activa fame) and makes 8bhp and 9 Nm of torque from it’s fuel-injected motor. The Scoopy’s premium-retro styling might make it a good competitor to offerings like the Vespa and the Aprilia SR150 but most of this is speculation at this stage. However, this is one product we’d definitely put our money on for the Expo.
Honda 150SS and 150R
Earlier this year Honda showcased the 150 SS Racer concept, and after an intense response from the consumer they fast tracked it for production and the result is the CB150R ExMotion that was showcased on Monday in Bangkok. The ExMotion is Honda’s take on a modern cafe racer with the qualities of a sports bike. It combines practicality and adds a modern premium touch, which aligns perfectly with what we think Honda’s future strategy is in the Indian market. Add to that it’s fast track development and easy to source 150cc motor, we think this could be one of Honda’s offerings at the Expo.
Honda Self-balancing Motorcycle
Now Honda broke the internet with video from the CES, with their self-balancing bike concept. Now Honda has not decided which bikes it will give this cutting edge technology too, but it seems like something that would be terribly useful on the almost half ton Honda Goldwing. Now while we don’t know when or whether the technology will make it to India, grapevine has it that Honda officials are trying to bring the concept to India to showcase at the Auto Expo. We assume that this will be more to improve the brand's visibility at Expo than anything else, but we are still excited to see this cutting edge technology in the flesh.