The entry-level motorbike (100 to 110 cc) has been the top-selling two-wheeler segment in India for over a decade. Also referred to as the commuter segment, it is led by Hero Splendor, which continues to be the best selling bike in the country. Hero had sold close to 208,263 units of the same in January 2022.
To leverage the large segment, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) is entering the 100cc segment soon. Speaking to Mobility Outlook, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director, HMSI, said, “There is a large potential in the 100cc motorcycle market in India. We are somehow missing on the right product portfolio. With this new development, and the price point which we are targeting, in addition to the brand power, trust and durability of Honda, I am sure we will get a fair share of this market. It is not about disruption but is about the volume which this segment provides.”
Completing The Portfolio
There has been a big jump in the acquisition cost of a two-wheeler after BS-VI implementation. The same is true even at the entry-level, as it was a big jump for the industry from BS-IV to BS-VI, he said.
The price of entry-level bikes has now acquired new positions in the Indian market. The BS-IV variant of Hero Splendor, for instance, was priced around INR 51,500, whereas the BS-VI variant of the same vehicle is being retailed for starting price of INR 69,380. Similarly, the BS-IV variants of Honda Livo were being retailed at starting prices of INR 59,239 ex-showroom, but once BS-VI kicked in, it is now available at starting prices of INR 73,938 ex-showroom in Delhi.
The price difference between the BS-IV and BS-VI variants, as is evident, is the range of INR 15,000, an amount that might be a little dearer to the middle-class people of the country.
“We feel that 100cc bikes are still holding a good market share (approx 25%) in India. The price point of the existing two offerings from Honda were a little away from the customers. That is why Honda decided to use a new platform and bring 100 cc motorcycles to take care of the entry-level market,” pointed out Guleria.
With the launch of Dream Yuga, Dream Neo and CD110, Honda entered the mass motorcycle segment in 2012. These motorbikes shared the same platform and were powered by 110 cc engines each. The OEM, however, now only sells the Livo and CD 110 in the Indian market. Guleria admitted that Honda has done its homework for the upcoming launch.
“We had the portfolio but not every product got us the volume that we were expecting. There was some homework for us to be done in terms of network and in terms of promotion. We have done those things at the backend. We will again try to capture a fair share of the market,” noted Guleria.
The upcoming Honda 100cc bike, as per Guleria, will complete the OEM’s portfolio of 100-110 cc motorbikes in India. The company did not reveal the launch date or the tentative pricing of the motorcycle. It is targeting to launch its 100cc offering within the next few months.
Versus Ex-partner And More OEMs
The collaboration between Hero and Honda (Hero Honda) is said to be the one that has revolutionised the entry-level segment of motorcycles in the country. Though there are offerings like Bajaj Platina and TVS Sport, Hero Splendor continues to be the most-selling 100cc motorbike in the country. Splendor, first launched in 1994 by Hero Honda as the successor to the CD 100, has not looked back since then. It has always been among the top 10 selling motorcycles in the country year after year. With its new launch, Honda will be taking on all these 100 cc offerings.
“I can say many things today but it is the actions that have to speak louder. Our main focus, going ahead, is going to be on all the aspects. To summarise, I can say that we have worked a lot on the hardware as well as the software part. Our new offering will be a good balance of rational (Hardware + Software) and emotional (reaching to customers) aspects,” said Guleria.
The OEM had already defined targets and numbers it will aim to achieve with the new Honda 100 cc motorcycle launch. It, however, was not open to comment or sharing the desired figures. The new offering, as per Guleria, is being developed, keeping the Indian consumers in consideration. With Honda now calling its Manesar facility the global resource centre, there might be export plans for the yet-to-be-unveiled 100cc Honda commuter bike as well.
“Honda Highness was developed keeping the Indian consumer in focus but after the launch we found that the bike is being liked a lot in Japan as well. Will we offer the 100cc bike to international markets depends on the response we get from the Indian market, and the inquiries from the international ones. We will explore other markets but the prime focus will be on India,” explained Guleria.
The OEM plans to source 100% of the components and raw materials it will be using in developing and manufacturing its new 100 cc offering from the Indian market.
“One big point is the price, and to take care of the price point, we are utilising Honda’s supplier base in India. We have had many meetings with them. The target is very clearly specified to them, and we are happy to see the kind of cooperation they are showing. Understanding the real objective of this target, I can say that almost 100% localisation of the upcoming Honda 100cc motorcycle will be achieved,” concluded Guleria.