Honda to launch Rs. 10 lakh motorcycle

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, the wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Honda Motor Co, plans to launch bikes priced at Rs 10 lakh and above at around the time the Tata Motors will be launching its small car Nano.

The company is looking at two big bikes and one small one in the current financial year, with a volume target of 10 lakh units against 9 lakh sold last year. The big bikes will have engines of 1,000cc and above, while smaller versions will be a 100cc one.

A top company official said Honda’s aim is to create a niche segment for bikes and make up for any loss at its entry-level if bike buyers move up to Tata’s Rs 1 lakh car. Shinji Aoyama, president and chief executive officer of HMSI, said after the Nano’s launch the market for entry segment bikes “will shift to some extent to the inexpensive cars”.

“All the three bikes will be launched by March 2009, taking the number of launches to four this fiscal,” Aoyama said. He was here to launch the 125cc CBF Stunner, priced at around Rs 48,000-Rs 53,000. Honda has set a sales target of 80,000 units aiming 8% of the total turnover from the model. The other three bikes would account for 2% of turnover.

HSMI, which has an 11% market share at present, is trying to maintain a steady share in India’s overall sales of eight million units a year by introducing more models, mostly in the 100cc-plus segment. Ayoma said that while sales of 100cc bikes fell by 15%, sales of 125 cc bikes grew 9% in 2007-08. Suzuki also plans to launch 1,300cc Hayabusa and 1,000cc GSXR this year.

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