Japan’s Honda Motor Company, plans to make India the export hub for its two-wheelers. The company’s Indian subsidiary Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is the country’s second largest two-wheeler manufacturer currently. Minoru Kato, president and CEO, who took charge as the new CEO of HMSI on April 1, told FE, that the government’s decision to convert all vehicles under the BS-IV emission norms from April 1, 2017, and later under BS VI norms by 2020, would allow the company to bring the patented technology for use in Indian vehicles qualifying them for exports to any country in the world.“Honda Motor’s owns around 5,000 patents globally out of which 400 are registered in India. Going ahead as we transform to BS IV some of those patents would be brought and registered in India as per regulatory Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) requirements. This would help us to convert India as an export hub on par with our hubs in China and Taiwan,” Kato said.
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“Strengthening the IPR in India will allow Honda Motorcycle gain technological edge over its competitors too,” Kato added. The decision would be further aided by record sales of 5 million units from its Indian operations in 2016-17 that the company expects to increase by 20% to 6 million units in 2017-18. The Indian subsidiary plans to invest around `1,600 crore in the current financial year (2017-18) for expansion of its fourth line at Narsapura plant in Karnataka adding 6 lakh units to company’s total production, taking it to 6.4 million units from four plants.
“As of March 31, domestic sales constituted around 4.72 million units, while the international sales were around 3 lakh units,” said Kato. The company also plans to launch four new products in FY18 – two automatic scooters, and 2 motorcycles in India. “One of the bike would be 1000-cc Africa Twin, that would be produced from the Manesar plant in Haryana, however we cannot divulge details of the other three products,” said Kato.