Japanese auto major Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) unveiled two mid-weight sports bike segment at the Milan Motor Show — EICMA. The company looks to bring new energy to the middleweight category through the CB650R and CBR650R which completes its new cafe racer family. YS Guleria, senior VP, sales and marketing, HMSI, spoke to FE’s Arun Nayal about the latest launches, importance of EICMA and tepid domestic sales. Excerpts:
What is the significance of EICMA for Honda?
It is a global platform for two-wheeler makers to showcase their products. Motor enthusiasts from around the world wait for this annual event. The 500cc and 650cc engine platforms constitute 35% of Honda’s large motorcycle sales in Europe.
What are the new launches?
Honda has unveiled its full 2019 European motorcycle line-up, with the introduction of two new model names —CB650R and CBR650R — and three extensively upgraded models — CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X. These five new products offer a well-rounded balance of exciting middleweight performance for riders of all experience levels, while providing potential stepping stones to Honda’s flagship roadster, adventure and sports models.
When are you launching new models in India and what is the future of sports bike segment in the country?
The sports bike segment is quite small at the moment. But it is expanding quickly. The culture of weekend riding is picking up among motor enthusiasts. We are offering more choices to the customers to grow that segment. We will introduce the CBR650R in India by the end of FY19.
How has been the festival sales for the company this year?
Navratri sales this year were slower than that in 2017. Retail sales were down 15-20% due to rise in insurance cost, high fuel prices, fall in stock markets, etc. However, Diwali sales have been better and HMSI has clocked a double-digit growth in both scooters and motorcycle segment.
What are the company’s estimates for the remaining months of FY19?
We remain conservative in our estimates for rest of the financial year. The conditions are challenging and we foresee subdued demand for two-wheelers with ABS/CBS and BSVI norms in the future. We expect a single-digit for the industry.
(Travel for this report was sponsored by HMSI)
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Source: Financial Express