First batch of the Honda CB350 motorcycles has been exported from India
Launched in September, Honda H’Ness CB350 is the newest rival to challenge the supremacy of Royal Enfield Classic 350. CB350 will also compete with Meteor 350, which is the first of Royal Enfield’s next-gen products. While CB350 has potential and has received appreciation from varied quarters, Classic 350 continues to lead in terms of sales volumes.
Honda CB350 October exports
CB350 is Honda’s first product that has been developed from scratch in India and will be exported to global markets. Initially, however, Honda will be focusing more on meeting demand in domestic market. In its first month, Honda exported 30 units of CB350. In comparison, Classic 350 exports in October were 906 units. While there’s a huge difference, the gap may reduce in the coming months.
Honda is currently working to streamline CB350’s sales and marketing at global locations. It’s an entirely new product and will take some time to gain acceptance among the target audience. In the coming months, production of CB350 could also be increased based on the demand situation. Honda has a much wider global network as compared to Royal Enfield, so CB350 could have the advantage in global markets.
In the domestic market, CB350 sales in October stood at 1,290 units. Total production was at 2,420 units. These are decent numbers in this segment, even though it may not be comparable to that of Classic 350. Domestic sales of Classic 350 were 41,953 units. An achievement for CB350 is that it has entered the top ten list of bestselling 200-500 cc motorcycles. In October, it was placed at ninth place.
Honda CB350 future outlook
As far as October sales are concerned, CB350 doesn’t seem to have caused any erosion in Classic 350 sales numbers. Classic 350 has posted positive YoY and MoM growth in October, which is evidence that it continues to dominate this space.
Even though CB350 is a direct rival, it appears that it is creating its own unique customer base rather than poaching potential customers of Classic 350. There may also be many bike enthusiasts who may have purchased CB350 just to experience something entirely new in this space.
So, will Honda CB350 be another product that bites the dust against the might of Classic 350? Well, that’s tough to answer as it’s too early to speculate on such aspects. While CB350 is a well-equipped and good looking motorcycle, it is currently available only through Honda Big Wing dealerships. That itself is a major constraint in boosting sale volumes.
Another thing is that Royal Enfield motorcycles are all about pride, prestige and power, which are definitely missing with CB350. At this point of time, possibilities for CB350 would be to focus on creating its own niche customer base and probably target exports more aggressively.