Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the completely owned subsidiary of Honda Motors Japan, is working towards capturing the high-end sports bike segment in India. In order to make a mark in this growing segment, Honda will first launch their 2015 CBR650 superbike by first half of next year.
Speaking to PTI, Mr Keita Muramatsu, President and CEO, HMSI said that though Indian motorcycle industry is ruled bikes in the commuter segment, there is a sharp rise in demand for high-end performance bikes. They wish to tap this market by offering world-class products, at competitive price.
As of now, Honda sells their high-end sports bikes as CBU (completely built up), which attract a higher import duty from the government of India. But, plans are in place to offer these bikes as CKD (completely knocked down) units. They will offer the CBR650 as a CKD, with assembly operations set to start next year at one of their three existing plants in Karnataka, Haryana and Rajasthan.
HMSI has confirmed that the price of CBR650 in India will be less than Rs 10 lakhs, which is considerably less than if it was launched as a CBU. As of now, Honda India offers five high end bikes – CB1000 R, CBR1000 RR, VFR1200F, VT1300 CX and Gold Wing 1800. All offered as CBUs, HMSI sells about 100 units of these bikes annually. Price of these bikes ranges from Rs 14 lakhs to Rs 31 lakhs.
Speaking about manufacturing superbikes in India, Honda says that as of now that will not be possible. They have taken the first step of getting assembly operations in place and as time goes, they will think about making superbikes in India.