Opinion: What Could Be Honda's Upcoming Mid-Size Motorcycle For India?
By Preetam Bora
1 mins read
Published on August 9, 2017
- Honda intends to be the No 1 two-wheeler manufacturer in India
- Honda planning to develop a new 300-400 cc motorcycle
- New Honda bike to take on Royal Enfield, Triumph mid-size bikes
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) will be looking to tap into a segment of motorcycles which the Japanese manufacturer has had near no presence in India so far. It's the mid-size capacity motorcycles segment spanning the 250 - 500 cc motorcycles, and Honda realises that the future of Indian motorcycling will not just be relegated to the high volumes commuter motorcycles, but this mid-size segment is what will see significant growth. Recently, Honda stated that the company is serious about introducing a new 300-400 cc motorcycle in India, but it has to be priced competitively, and completely made in India to be a successful product.
Also Read: Honda Planning New 300-400 cc Motorcycle
The mid-size capacity segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian two-wheeler industry right now. And it's this segment which Honda will be looking to tap into, as the company looks to become the No 1 two-wheeler manufacturer in India by 2020. So far, Honda officials maintain that a decision on the product is yet to be taken, and the engine capacity, and even type of motorcycle is yet to be decided. But the writing is clear - there will be a new 300-400 cc motorcycle from Honda in the next couple of years, and it's going to be motorcycle which Honda will have high hopes on.
Sometime back, there were rumours doing the rounds that Honda is looking at introducing a mid-size adventure motorcycle. If that is the case, this is very good news indeed. Within the global adventure motorcycling community, there has always been a demand for such a bike - lightweight, powerful and reliable, with features like high ground clearance and long travel suspension. Yes, there is a growing breed of such riders in India too, as more and more motorcycle riders have begun exploring the country - from the dense forests and foothills of the North East to the arid, high altitude deserts of the high Himalayas.
Also Read: Will The Honda XRE 300 Be Launched In India?
But the big question is - does a small capacity adventure tourer make business sense? After all, the 200 cc and above segment has only recently started warming up; high volumes are still limited to the smaller bikes in the 100-150 cc category. The other big news in this segment is the latest Bajaj-Triumph alliance which will see Triumph sharing engineering and R&D know-how with Bajaj, with manufacturing undertaken by Bajaj. The products spawning from this tie-up will also be mid-size capacity Triumph motorcycles, not only for the Indian market, but for global consumption. So far, there are no details on what type of motorcycles will be developed, but we can certainly conjecture that a mid-size adventure bike, like a smaller Triumph Tiger, or even a small displacement classic like a baby Bonneville could well be in the works, to take on segment leader Royal Enfield.
Honda clearly will have its task cut out. Identifying market demand, also with a keen eye on profitability, is what will be key to break into a segment which has limited product offerings at the moment. Internationally, Honda has several products in this segment, spanning street, adventure and cruiser bikes, but for India, the strategy will be different than just replicating Honda's international product portfolio. India is Honda's biggest two-wheeler market globally, and India is also home to Honda's largest two-wheeler plant now. A made-in-India, made-for-India, and for the world motorcycle is what Honda should be looking at, and that is what is likely to be Honda's product strategy, not only in India, but also across the world.
Will it be a small-sized adventure bike like the Africa Twin, or will Honda go back to the drawing board to come up with a mid-size classic, with design inspired by the very popular 1970s Honda CB750? As of now, it's early days yet, to predict anything concrete, but yes, one thing is clear: there will be increasing action and more new products in this segment, not just from Honda, but from several manufacturers trying to grab segment domination. The next few years promise to be exciting times in the Indian motorcycling scene, and it's eventually the Indian motorcycle buyer who will be spoilt for choice with more options, better quality, and most importantly, competitive pricing.
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