Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) is all set to introduce its all new entry-level motorcycle in the country in the next financial year with the development work having already progressed to the final stage, as per a top company official.
The company, which is the second largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the country, is looking to cater to rural areas and semi-urban areas with the entry-level model which would sit below its CD 110 range.
''All of our feasibility studies with suppliers are already done successfully. Now actual offshore development is being done in Japan. You can see the actual model within the next financial year,'' HMSI President, Managing Director and CEO Atsushi Ogata told PTI.
When asked if the bike was in the final stages of the development process, he replied in the affirmative.
The new model would be the company's most affordable bike in the domestic market.
Ogata, after taking charge of India operations last year, had said the company would look at introducing entry-level affordable products for rural areas while strengthening its mid-segment range (above 150cc) as well as superbike portfolio to cater to different set of customers. ''Unfortunately, we do not have a strong product for rural areas, therefore we definitely need a model to acquire such kind of customers because Honda philosophy is to supply affordable products to customers. It is our responsibility to provide a product that people in rural areas can buy,'' he had stated last year.
When asked about how the company's bike segment was performing currently, Ogata noted that 125-cc models like Shine and SP 125 were performing ''much beyond'' the company's expectations. ''There is much high demand beyond our expectation so therefore, we are having enough dispatch to our dealers for our customers. We have modified assembly lines of our factories especially in the South region to cater to the demand,'' he noted.
Commenting on the company's big bike portfolio, Ogata said there would be new product introductions from the beginning of the next year.
''We are increasing the number of touch points in each state. The BigWing dealership number besides the RedWing dealership has now crossed 70 mark. Within this financial year our plan is to reach 100 touchpoints,'' he noted.
HMSI sells models like Goldwing, H'ness CB350, CB350RS, CB 1000R among others, in the segment.
Commenting on the scooter segment, Ogata noted that demand is still very flat in the automatic segment.
He, however, expressed hope that the segment is expected to witness some growth with gradual improvement in COVID-19 situation in the country.
''We are expecting that after Diwali, some of the big companies will restart work from the office. Also, with schools and colleges reopening, the segment is expected to see some demand,'' Ogata said. HMSI sells popular scooter models like Activa and Grazia in the country.
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