Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India have been planning for years, to enter the more premium segment of motorcycles in the country. The segment which currently accounts for about 8 lakh motorcycles, is dominated by Royal Enfield, who accounts for over 85% market share.
Bajaj tried to take on RE in this segment with the launch of Dominar. They had aimed to get 15% share in this segment via Dominar. But that has not happened as Dominar monthly sales average at about 1,000 units. Whereas RE sales are in the 55,000 units range.
Honda India has motorcycles in the 300 cc segment, the newly launched CB300R for example. But this is a CKD unit. In order to compete with RE and generate numbers, Honda knows they need to launch a made in India motorcycle with heavy localization. That is exactly what the company is going to do next.
Over the next 18 months, HMSI will launch a brand new made in India motorcycle in the 350cc-500cc segment; to challenge the might of Royal Enfield. This new motorcycle will not be sold at existing Honda dealerships, where Activa is also sold. Instead, Honda will sell this new motorcycle at their new premium outlets called Big Wing.
The first Honda Big Wing premium bike dealer was set up in February this year. Honda has also formed a team of 15 senior members, to overlook the launch of this new motorcycle, as well as the development of the new dealer network. Over the next 18 months, Honda aims to have a network of 100 Big Wing dealers across 22 Indian cities.
Apart from selling the made in India Honda premium motorcycle, the Big Wing brand will also pay special emphasis to larger and more premium bikes with dedicated sales, marketing, branding and after sales service support. It will not be mixed with the mass market approach the brand currently uses for sale / promo of the likes of Activa, CB Shine, etc.
Currently, Honda has a portfolio of 6 premium models which will be sold through the Big Wing outlets. These include the CB300R, CB1000R, CBR1000RR Fireblade, CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, Africa Twin and the GL1800 Gold Wing. Each of these bikes are locally assembled, with parts imported from outside of India. The new portfolio will include locally produced Honda bikes so as to ensure competitive pricing so as to take on Royal Enfield and other global bike makers.
Where the premium motorcycle segment above 300-500cc is concerned, Honda targets double digit market share. Though the company’s primary focus will be on the Indian markets, following the introduction of BS VI emission norms, the company also sees increased opportunities in terms of exports after 2023.
Source – Economic Times