No concrete plans to produce EVs, to reconsider production expansion in India: HMSI

Honda has yesterday launched its first BS-VI compliant two-wheeler in the Indian market i.e the new Activa 125. The company says that the deliveries of the same will commence by Q2 2019.

By: | Updated: June 13, 2019 12:14 PM

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Honda, the Japanese two-wheeler giant, on Wednesday, said that the company is going to have to reconsider its future investments in India in lieu of the situation of uncertainty created by Government's reported proposal to ban the sale of all internal combustion engine propelled two-wheelers in India under the 150 cc category by the year 2025. That said, HMSI will continue with its project of production capacity expansion at its Gujarat plant. In addition to this, the company will also continue with investing in new models as well as technologies for the country.

HMSI President and CEO Minoru Kato told reporters on the sidelines of the unveiling of the company's first BS-VI scooter, the Activa 125, that though the company is going to continue investing in new models, features and new technologies, it is going to reconsider its production capacity. The two-wheeler manufacturer is currently also reconsidering additional investments as they will depend on the road-map set for electric vehicles in India.

Kato, expressing his views on the Government's reported ban on 150 cc ICE two-wheelers by 2025 in order to provide a push to electric vehicle switchover, said that this aim of conversion till 2025 is quite early and that the said proposal should undergo more deliberations. He further added that though he understood the direction in which the Indian Government is going, however, due to the approaching BS-VI emission regulations, manufacturers, as well as suppliers, have and are still making huge investments. As a result of this, a complete switchover to BS-VI will be too much. He stressed that there is a need for further discussions with the Government in order to find a proper road map for a smooth switchover to electric vehicles. Furthermore, Kato said that currently there is a communication gap between the industry and the Government and that there is a need to address this issue.

When asked if Honda has plans of introducing electric models in its portfolio in India, Kato said that at the moment, HMSI has no concrete plans and that EVs are a big challenge for the company as it needs to find a way to address customer's expectations and their concerns related to range. Honda R&D division in Japan has developed electric models however the company, as of yet, does not have a specific offering for the Indian market.

When it comes to BS-VI switchover, Kato said that Honda is going to perform this process in a phased manner. The company is going to upgrade almost its entire model line-up to meet the upcoming regulations. However, he hinted that the quirky bike Navi could only be exported and no longer remain on sale in the Indian market.

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