Honda Motorcycle plans to double premium portfolio

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) plans to double the portfolio under its premium motorcycle business vertical Big Wing and locally manufacture several of these vehicles with the aim of exporting them to global markets.

The Indian unit of Japan’s largest two-wheeler maker will expand its portfolio of high-performance motorcycles, with engine displacements ranging from 300cc to 1800cc, to 13 models from seven at present.

Models with relatively higher demand, like the CB300R, will also be manufactured locally to make their prices more competitive, the company said. At present, three of the seven models are imported as kits and assembled in India, while the rest are imported as completely built units.

During the April to September period of the ongoing financial year, sales under the Big Wing banner more than quadrupled to about 100 units per month. Further capitalising on this growing demand for premium motorcycles, the company plans to expand the Big Wing sales network to 75 cities in the coming years, said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice president of sales and marketing at HMSI.

The company is also looking to develop a larger export footprint on the back of the locally manufactured Big Wing motorcycles under its ‘Make in India for the World’ plan.

Meanwhile, on its domestic mass-market two-wheeler business front, the company is eyeing to leverage the disruption caused by emission norms change from April 2020 as an opportunity to grab a higher market share.

"Regulation in India is rapidly changing. We think every change may be an opportunity for us," Noriaki Abe, chief officer for Honda Motor Company told ET on the sidelines of the Japanese company’s press conference at EICMA 2019 here. Abe’s confidence stems from the fact that Honda already has proven BS-VI emission norms compliant technology in its global portfolio while its competitors in India are yet to prove their technology.

While the company may be confident about the future, its sales during the April to September period of the ongoing financial year have declined 18.7% to 2.7 million units over last year as against the overall industry’s decline of 16.2%.