Honda to boost bike biz with mass market and mid-size motorcycles: MD-CEO

We have taken lots of cost-saving initiatives, which will make HMSI’s operations not only more stable but also sustainable for the long-term,” Atsushi Ogata MD, president & CEO
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), which was predominantly a scooter maker, is now looking at strengthening its motorcycle offerings. It is coming up with a new mass-market entry-level motorcycle, targeting rural customers largely. 

For urban customers, the company is looking at new motorcycles for the mid-sized segment, said its new managing director (MD), president & chief executive officer (CEO) Atsushi Ogata.

HMSI, which produces 6.4 million units in India, is also targeting to become the number one export resource among Honda’s plants globally within three years. It is currently in fifth position in Honda’s export unit pecking order.

The pandemic has opened up new opportunities for HMSI. “We have taken lots of cost-saving initiatives, which will make HMSI’s operations not only more stable but also sustainable for the long-term,” said Ogata, who took over in May, but came to India in July.

He is optimistic about India’s growth story and feels one of the key drivers for growth will be demand for personal mobility as people stay away from public transportation. 

Today, the company is India’s largest scooter marker. Of the total sales, scooters contribute around 67 per cent to the company. 

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Ogata agreed that Honda needed to fill the gaps with new products, especially in the motorcycle segment, to cater to the rural market. 

Around 35 per cent of HMSI’s network is in rural areas, but when it comes to sales, the segment accounts for only 25 per cent. 

One of the main reasons is the lack of affordable motorcycles for the rural market. Today, the entry-level motorcycle in Honda is Honda CD 110. However, it doesn’t fall under the most affordable motorcycle category, which is now dominated by Hero, TVS and Bajaj.

“Our R&D teams in Japan and India, along with suppliers, are looking at developing a product which will cater to this segment,” said Ogata, while declining to give any time-frame for the launch or share other details. The other thrust area is a mid-sized sporty two-wheeler. The new product will be developed in India for the Indian market, he said.



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