— Keita Marumatsu, President and CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd
A wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Japan, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) specialises in the manufacture of two-wheelers in India. With a product range comprising three motorcycle and two scooter models, the company has three manufacturing plants, the newest being a plant at Narsapura with a 1.8 million capacity. HMSI is also working towards setting up a fourth facility at Gujarat. Experts of an interview to Eliza Waghmare.
How big is the market size of HMSI in India?
We are one of the leading players in the two-wheelers segment. We want to further expand our presence. In FY2012-13, we sold 2,754,584 two-wheelers, gathering a market share of 17 per cent. The same year, we witnessed a growth of about 31 per cent against 27 per cent in FY2011-12. In FY2013-14, we sold 3,721,935 units, gathering a market share of 22 per cent. The same year, HMSI recorded a growth of 35 per cent. With the arrival of Activa 125, we expect to target a major segment of the Indian market. In future, we aim to expand our presence by introducing technically advanced two-wheelers in India.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) has recently launched Activa 125 in the Indian market. Could you brief us more on this model.
We have realised that there is a rising demand for automatic scooters. In order to fulfill the rising demand, we have introduced our first 125cc gearless scooter in the form of Activa 125. It offers an exciting combination of power, mileage, comfort and advanced features. It is powered by a 125cc petrol engine that produces 8.6bhp of power and 10.12Nm of torque. The scooter also sports a 12V, 3Ah battery and a 35 W head lamp. The suspension is telescopic at front, and spring loaded hydraulic at the rear. Good fuel efficiency is promised by the Honda Eco Technology (HET), which helps employs light weight components that also reduce friction. Enabling, in the process, a 11 per cent hike in fuel efficiency. Activa 125 will deliver certified I-CAT mileage of 59kmpl. The scooter features digital meter, tubeless tyres, 12-inch diameter front wheel, 90mm front disc brake on the deluxe version, 5-spoke alloy wheels, metal body, and viscous air filter. The Combined Braking System (CBS) means the front and rear brake is applied even when the rear brake lever is pressed. CBS reduces braking distance by up to 24 per cent.
What are the external differentiators?
The Activa 125 was designed to look different from the other models in the Activa family. It sports an insistent front panel with a catchy chrome bar, an impressive headlight, and stylish indicators. It has X-shaped tail light and a robust grab rail. Wider seat ensures good comfort. Ease of servicing is assured by the Convenient Lift up Independent Cover (CLIC) mechanism. It provides easy access to the mechanicals.
Honda scooters are the biggest selling scooter in India. How much market share have you achieved so far with its sales?
We are today the second largest two-wheeler company in India, acquiring over 16 million customers. The FY13-14 was the most successful year for Honda, since we achieved the highest sales of 37.21 lakh units from the Indian market. Along with this, the company’s market share boomed by 6 per cent to all time high 28 per cent. Even the automatic scooter segment’s contribution, to the overall two-wheelers sales in India has grown from 16 per cent in 2009-10 to 24 per cent today.
Could you brief us on your expansion plans?
We started production in 2001 from our first plant at Manesar in Haryana which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units. Later in 2011, we expanded our production by setting up our second plant at Tapukara in Rajasthan with a capacity of 1.2 million units. The third plant was set up at Narsapura area in Karnataka with a capacity of 1.8 million units. We now have plans to further expand our business and serve our customers more efficiently by setting up our fourth plant at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The operation at our fourth unit is expected to start by 2015-16 with an initial annual capacity of 1.2 million units. With this plant, we expect our overall production capacity to reach 5.8 million units.
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