Mumbai: After two decades at the fringes, Japan‘s largest two wheeler maker’s Indian subsidiary, Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India, aims to double down on the growing Indian premium motorcycle market and challenge Royal Enfield in the mid-size motorcycle space with a dedicated business division and new product portfolio in less than 18 months.
Set up in February this year, the premium bike division of Honda called ‘Big Wing‘ with a silver wing mark, has formed a 15 member senior executives team who have a strong background for premium bikes or having passion for big bikes.
Ledby Yogesh Powar, who has previously worked for global giants like Ducati and Harley, Honda wants to bring in an ‘outside in’ approach, with a team selected carefully to deliver a specialised focus on big bikes with dedicated, sales, marketing, branding and after sales support. The company will be setting up an independent network across 22 locations with 100 outlets in the country in the coming 18 months.
“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 declaring the company’s intention to play in over 8 lakh units market per annum, which is pre-dominantly led by Royal Enfield.
The company already has a portfolio of half of dozen models which will be sold through Silver Big Wing outlets starting from 300 cc sports bike to 1800 cc Africa Twin, but these are locally assembled and completely built imports. However with its new portfolio of locally produced mid-size motorcycle Honda wants competitively fight Royal Enfield and other global majors who want to grab a pie of Royal Enfield’s mainstay.
“We have been maintaining that middle weight category has good potential in terms of volumes. The study is on to understand exactly what kind of portfolio we need. There will be different kind of body styles in the mid-size space that will be introduced to cater to larger audience,” explained Guleria, underlining that there will be a range of motorcycles and not just one bike.
The long term vision is to eye a double digit market share in the premium motorcycle i.e. the above 300-500 cc segment with the Big Wing, said Guleria but declined to put a specific timeline to attain this goal. While the primary focus will be on the Indian market, Guleria says with the regulations taking a leap in India with BS VI emission norms, there is a significant potential to export these bikes after 2023 from India.