Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has been slow with its launches in the premium segment that has shown immense growth in the past couple of years. For those planning to get their hands on a host of premium Honda motorcycles anytime soon, the wait will be longer than it seems. Speaking to carandbike.com, HMSI Senior Vice President, Yadvinder Singh Guleria said that the company's current priority remains on improving its volumes in the country and would move into higher segments once it achieves a substantial market share. Guleria also confirmed that Honda's next premium offering will be the Africa Twin, while there are no new CBRs planned, ruling out the recently revealed CBR250RR.
The CBR range is a popular brand for HMSI in India, but the company hasn't chosen to upgrade the models in-line with the global changes. While Honda has rolled out the CBR300R and CBR150R with new styling and more power, the models will continue to remain in its existing setup in the country. Guleria also said that there are no plans to launch the CBR250RR in India either. The quarter-litre offering was revealed in Indonesia earlier this month and has already received rave reviews for its progressive styling and extensive equipment list. The news certainly comes as disappointing for those who were waiting for the twin-cylinder model.
That said, HMSI's next premium motorcycle will be the highly awaited Africa Twin adventure tourer that was showcased at this year's Auto Expo and will go on sale in 2017. The adventure tourer will be the second locally assembled premium Honda motorcycle in India after the CBR650F, which was launched last year after being showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo. At 5 per cent, the Africa Twin has the same amount of localisation as the CBR650F. Guleria also revealed that training for its employees on the assembly line for the Africa Twin at the Manesar facility has commenced.
With the growing demand for adventure tourers, Honda is bringing the adventure tourer at just about the right time. The motorcycle is powered by a 998cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, twin-cylinder engine that produces 94bhp of power and 98Nm of torque. Interestingly, the motor will come paired to a 6-speed DCT automatic transmission. The tourer also comes with multiple riding modes, LED indicators, switchable ABS and a massive 250mm ground clearance. The Africa Twin will be locking horns with the Triumph Tiger Range and Kawasaki Versys 1000 among other offerings.
Honda Africa Twin
Meanwhile, Honda will be upgrading its existing models to BSIV this year, while also introducing the soon to be mandated auto headlamp function on its two-wheelers. The company currently commands a market share of 27 per cent in the two-wheeler space and is looking to increase the same.
Guleria also spoke about Honda's expansion plans to meet the ever increasing domestic demand with construction commenced at the Narsapura plant in Bangalore, which will be ready by the mid next year and will add an additional 6 lakh units in annual capacity. With respect to the 'scooter only' Vithalapur plant, the first line achieved full capacity in three months, while production on the second line commenced recently and the company is aiming to reach full capacity by the end of September, which means 1 lakh additional scooters will be coming from this plant. When asked about commencing exports from the Gujarat plant, Guleria said that the current focus is on meeting domestic demand, but the possibility of exports hasn't been ruled out.