Honda set to zoom past industry in two-wheelers

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 1 2009, 04:20am hrs
Despite a slowdown in the two-wheeler industry, which registered a mere 1.27% growth between April-December at 61,52,804 units, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is targeting around 15% growth in 2009-2010 at 12 lakh units as compared to 10.5 lakh units that it expects to sell by the end of the current financial year.

At a time when retail finance is taking its toll on the overall demand, the company is betting big on the Indian market and has outlined an investment of Rs 300 crore in the country.

Though retail financing continues to be a problem but the fundamental demand for two-wheelers is still very high and we expect to sell over 12 lakh units in the coming financial year with new models and few variants lined up during this period, says Shinji Aoyama, president and CEO, HMSI.

According to Aoyama, the company will invest Rs 300 crore in the Indian market over the next three years to increase capacity and enhance its product portfolio. This will include the introduction of a 100cc bike from HMSI in 2010.

"We will certainly come up with an entry-level 100cc bike in India next year and the company plans to sell around 2,00,000 bikes in the first year of launch," he says, adding that though its 100cc bike will be sporty but there could be some cannibalisation of the 100cc bikes currently being produced by Hero Honda Motor India, a joint venture partner of Honda Motor Company of Japan.

The company, on Friday, launched two super bikes that will compete with the high-end bikes from the stable of Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki Motorcycle. The CBR 1000RR Fireblade and the CB1000R are priced at Rs 12.5 lakh and Rs 9.5 lakh respectively and will be sold in the country as completely build units, imported from Japan and Europe. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India have set up two company owned showrooms, the Honda Wing World, in Delhi and Mumbai to retail these bikes in the domestic market. "There is an estimated demand of 400 units of high-end bikes in the country and we expect to sell less than 100 units of these in a year," says NK Rattan, vice president (sales and marketing), HMSI.

HMSI registered a growth of 21.94% in January at 90,796 units as against a dip of 3.95% in the two-wheeler industry at 5,81,742 units.