Hero Honda and Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India (HMSI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company of Japan, are aggressively working towards future launch plans. Hero Honda is a joint venture between the Munjals and the Japanese major.
The two companies have on earlier occasions indicated that between them, they would like to have half the two-wheeler market share in India.
While company officials are tight-lipped for obvious reasons about future product offerings, industry sources told FE that Hero Honda is working on a 125 cc offering slated for an October-launch this year.
The new technical agreement between Hero Honda and Honda envisages the launch of eight new models over a four-year period. Sources also added that Hero Honda is working on a new engine platform for Passion Plus and Splendor Plus. This is slated for launch sometime in 2005. However, Hero Honda officials, do not want to comment on new products.
“We do not comment on future product offerings,” said Hero Honda senior vice-president (marketing and sales) Atul Sobti.
With HMSI being free to enter Indian motorcycle market from September, the company is working towards the launch of a 150 cc bike. The company recently called a vendor meet to discuss its motorcycle launch plans for India, sources added.
Analysts point out that the launch of a 150 cc offering from HMSI would seriously threaten Bajaj Auto’s offering Pulsar in the premium segment.
Mr Sobti made it clear that Hero Honda’s mainstay would be the 100 cc segment.
The 125-250 cc segment comprises around 15 per cent of the Indian mobike mart. The number of motorcycles sold in the country is expected to touch 4.3 million by the end of the current fiscal.
Hero Honda’s motorcycles in this category comprise Ambition 135, CBZ and Karizma.
The company expects to close the current fiscal over two million units. HMSI has tasted success in India with its variomatic scooter offering Activa.