Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) will have a change of guard at the top level by the end of this month with the exit of Atsushi Ogata, president, managing director and CEO of the company.
Ogata will be taking over the reins of Honda’s operation in China while the current head of Honda’s China operations, Tsutsumu Otani, is likely to lead HMSI from April 1, 2023. Ogata is leaving after nearly completing his three-year term as chief of HMSI.
The change comes at a time when HMSI, the country’s second largest two-wheeler maker, is battling a slower-than-expected growth in domestic two-wheeler demand and a steady shift in buyer preference to electric vehicles, where Honda
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A mail sent to HMSI seeking comments remained unanswered at the time of going to press.
Ogata took charge of HMSI in May 2020 when the company was facing its worst ever challenge both on the demand as well as on the supply side. From a market share of 27% reported in March 2020 at the domestic level, HMSI under Ogata, is set to close FY23 at a similar level of market share.
Among the biggest decisions taken by Ogata was the restructuring of the manufacturing set up of HMSI which saw a near 20% reduction in its production capacity to 5.2 million per annum. This decision vastly helped Honda to deal with the slump in India’s two-wheeler market and get rid of excess capacity.
While Honda is operating its plants at full capacity following the rearrangement in its rated output, others like Hero MotoCorp
Ogata also pitched for having an electric vehicle-dedicated plant in Karnataka within its existing facility at Narasapura. This meant shifting one of its production lines from the Karnataka plant to its Gujarat plant, which is dedicated for producing scooters only.
Though Honda’s rivals jumped onto the EV bandwagon in 2020 with the foray of Bajaj Auto
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HMSI is scheduled to announce its EV strategy on March 29, which will have details about products, targeted segments and production plans.
Besides making Honda’s first EV a success Tsutsumu Otani will have to battle market leader Hero MotoCorp in the budget motorcycle segment where Honda has made a fresh push with the launch of the Shine 100. Hero has a market share of 80% in the bike segment up to 110cc, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.