Every one of them gave the required push for the Japanese brand to establish itself into the roots of the automotive marketplace and the rest, as they say, became history.
For the two wheel world though, it was the 2001 entrant scooters, Activa and Dio that proceeded on churning a large number of volumes for their parent firm. With this fortunes, Honda became the 2nd largest two wheeler manufacturer in the Indian marketplace and in 2016, Honda 2 Wheelers India became the number one contributor to Honda’s international two-wheeler business.
With such laurels up their alley, Honda decided to pump in important investments and R&D into the country’s production and service with one goal in sight: To become the number one player in the motorcycle section by 2020 taking over reigns from Hero MotoCorp.
If statistics are to be believed, India is in the highest rankings in terms of growing economy.The market in India sees an upward trend ever since 2010, due to the improved rural infrastructure and rising income levels, affordability has become a norm to people from small towns and villages too. Moreover, urban citizens find it easier to run who wheelers on the streets due to increase in traffic congestion and availability of parking.
Owing to such a growing economy, Honda has wager big and going full guns into pumping in money and R&D into the country’s automotive operations. Opening up new retails, expanding existing production capacities, improving customer service and satisfaction, setting up new greenfield jobs are all in the cards for the coming fiscal year.
Recently, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd (HMSI)became the largest manufacturer of two wheelers because of its mother company, Honda. Following commissioning a 4th new production line in Karnataka, HMSI can now manage 64 lakhs in capacities in a year and is your top production foundation for Honda in the entire world.
Now, industry sources point out that HMSI wants to expand its scooter-only plant at Vithalapur in Gujarat which is the largest such facility in the world that already generates close to 12 lakh scooters yearly. With adding a third new assembly line at this plant, the brand would like to come close to eliminating supply and demand requisites and promote minimum waiting periods.
HMSI makes the Honda Activa, which is the highest selling 2 wheeler in the world and also enjoys having the 2nd largest market share (30%) in the two wheeler segment in India. If it comes to the scooter section alone, HMSI is leading the charts with an impressive 59 percent market share and are in a race to add two additional scooters to the existing line-up.
In the motorcycle section, it is the CB Shine that commands a huge 54 percent market share in the segment, and it also became the first motorcycle to cross the 1 lakh earnings for April. HMSI’s motorcycle market appreciates a healthy 17 percent market share now, which is a three percent raise from the previous fiscal year.
Seeing this as an opportunity to increase motorcycle market share, Minoru Kato, President & CEO, HMSI believe they can replicate the success CB Shine has in additional commuter models in their portfolio. And their strategy to do this includes expanding their existing portfolio of commuter motorbikes by adding a different sport changing 125cc motorcycle.
They also are aiming in pushing their rural advantage by expanding their sales network and adding upto 500 brand new touch points by the end of this fiscal which will take it up a total of 5700. Out of the 500, HMSI intends to include at least 70 percent of it in the rural regions.
According to HMSI Senior VP Sales and Marketing, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, this movement will play a huge role in achieving the ambitious goal of selling around 60 lakh units this season, 10 lakh more units compared to the previous fiscal.
Coming to plant expansions, HMSI said that all their four crops: Manesar in Haryana, Tapukara in Rajasthan, Vithalapur in Gujarat and Narsapura in Karnataka are currently operating at full capacities and are churning out around 64 lakh two wheelers for the year.
But, just the Vithalapur plant in Gujarat can accommodate more product lines or even allow for setting up a fresh Greenfield unit. As of this moment, HMSI does not plan on starting up a new Greenfield facility since it requires to justify sufficient volumes and demands for its establishment.
That being said there are a few other market expectations that will come into force soon that HMSI needs to accommodate before they can decide on opening a new line in Gujarat. Be it BS VI compliancy by 2020 or the compulsion of adding ABS and other safety features onto their products, HMSI should accommodate these escalating prices for new technology implementation.
With electric vehicle market now being ploughed in the industry, that the Japanese Red is also getting serious about developing electric vehicles and so is being occupied partnering with another technocrat, Hitachi Automotive Systems.
Although all this is a good piece of technology intended to run cleaner motorcycles, it is going to require at least a couple of years until Hondacan fully develop these motors and use it on any production motorcycle. And when it comes to the Indian market, it is more of a struggle with customers expecting nothing less than the 100cc petrol powered counterparts.
Nonetheless, this EV growth is a long-term plan. For the time being, though, HMSI is looking into boosting sales this coming festive season and are planning to lure customers by availing enormous discounts and providing free accessories bundle. In preparation, the company has built up stock and currently has inventory that can last 42 days.