Honda, one of the largest two wheeler companies in the world has been operating on the fringes in India for several years. They have been playing the the economy market selling 150 cc and lower bikes. However, in the last few years, the mid size segment comprising bikes in the 250 to 500 cc sizes has been booming. A large part of the market has been cornered by Royal Enfield which has been very aggressive and has been introducing new models on a regular basis. The staple of this company is the 350 cc bikes. Honda has now decided to enter this market with its bigger bikes to take the fight into the Royal Enfield court.
Honda has set up a new business division dedicated to the 8 Lakh unit per annum mid-size bikes market. This division is called the “Big Wing”. Though Honda sells higher displacement bikes in India, they are mostly CKD or imported bikes. This does not allow Honda to play in the volumes market. Honda has now decided to manufacture 250 to 500 cc bikes in India to allow it to compete against Royal Enfield. Other players eyeing this market Hero, Bajaj-Triumph, TVS-BMW, and Harley-Davidson. Honda will be setting up an independent network of 100 outlets, which includes 22 Big Wing outlets in major towns in the coming 18 months. The company aims to acquire a 10% market share.
“We are approaching the premium bike business with the new energy and zeal than ever before, not to be mixed with mass market approach. We know that pricing is going to be key consideration for increasing the volumes and viability of our dealers. There has to be a model that is locally produced to make it viable,” said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Sr VP, sales and marketing at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India