The Japanese giant is focusing on the 300-500cc middleweight segment
- A range of different bikes in various body styles are being developed.
- The first bike is expected to roll out in the next 18 months.
- Bikes will be locally manufactured and could be exported post-2023.
When the erstwhile Hero Honda brought out its 157cc CBZ in 1999, it was the pinnacle of performance motorcycling in India. The displacement figure was dizzying to most buyers. Things have moved on since then, and for the last few years now, the 300-500cc middleweight segment has been steadily gaining momentum in India. In terms of sales figures, this space has been dominated by Royal Enfield, but Honda is looking to change that soon with a range of middleweight motorcycles slated to enter our market in the near future.
At present, Honda’s only offering in this displacement range is the CB300R that is brought in via the CKD route. Priced at Rs 2.41 lakh (ex-showroom), it takes on the likes of the KTM 390 Duke and BMW G 310 R rather than Royal Enfield’s single-cylinder range. Hence, Honda is building a new portfolio of more affordable middleweight motorcycles to take on the iconic brand.
These new motorcycles will be sold via Honda’s Big Wing business division through 100 outlets across 22 different cities and towns in India. In order to keep costs down, these bikes will be manufactured in India and will use single-cylinder engines, but a variety of different body types will be offered to cater to a broader customer base.
Honda’s Big Wing division was set up in February this year with 15 senior executives who share a specialised focus on premium offerings in the middleweight segment, different from the mass market approach used by Honda on its smaller motorcycles. Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Sr VP of Sales and Marketing at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, has expressed a desire to move 8 lakh units per annum and capture a double digit market share in this segment.
Guleria didn’t specify a timeline to achieve this goal, but he did give us another interesting piece of information. The incoming BS6 emission norms will also make Indian motorcycles Euro5-compliant and eligible for sale in international markets. Hence, he sees a significant potential to export these bikes from India post-2023.