Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd has announced its plan for the financial year 2017-18 with a goal of increasing overall sales by 20 per cent. Last year was HMSI’s best year yet in its 16-year history. Sales hit the 50 lakh mark for the first time and Honda would like to extend that to 60 lakh this financial year.
A big push towards that will come when the plant at Narsapura, Bengaluru starts operations on the new line by around July this year. With the new fourth line operational, Honda’s overall capacity in India will rise to 64 lakh units from it’s four plants.
Further, the company has announced that it will be will be launching four brand new products this year. Two scooters and two motorcycles. Of these, one is the upcoming Honda Africa Twin adventure bike. The company has begun trial assembly runs for the new Honda Africa Twin and it should be launched in a couple of months. The 1,000cc adventure motorcycle will be offered solely with the DCT automatic gearbox. The motorcycle will be retailed out of 22 outlets across the country. Service will be provided directly by the company on an appointment basis.
In FY 16-17 Honda became India’s third largest two-wheeler exporter. The company aims to cross the three lakh export mark this financial year. Honda’s eventual goal is to make India a global export hub by the time BS-VI comes into effect.
Minoru Kato, the new president and CEO, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd, also pointed out how the company has learnt from recent uncertainties that cropped up like demonitisation and the recent BS-III to BS-IV chaos. The new direction for the market will come in the upcoming adoption of CBS and ABS in 2018-2019 as well as the eventual shift to BS-VI in 2020-2021. Technologies like PGM-FI and on-board diagnostics among others will be used to help reach the tighter emissions targets. Honda also talked about offering its HET low rolling resistance tyres across more models in the range.
In his first engagement with the media, Kato divulged that he is a motorcycling enthusiast as well. Kato went on to mention how Honda is working on introducing the fun factor in its product line-up, something that we’re very happy to hear. These are still very early days but it points to the fact that we could see a tiny shift in focus. Honda is undoubtedly still working fervently at raising the numbers game in its goal to be the biggest manufacturer in the world’s biggest two-wheeler market. However, we could also see a bit more focus on the enthusiast and premium side of things. The well priced Honda CBR 1000 RR might just be a sign of better things to come.