Honda is the now the Number 3 player, after Hero and Bajaj, in the 110cc-and-below segment, which clocks a monthly volume of about six lakh units.

Japanese two-wheeler major Honda says it is still trying to crack the entry level bike market in India even as recent initiatives have started to show results.

The company is the leader in scooters and has been making progress in different segments of the motorcycle market..

Honda is the now the Number 3 player, after Hero and Bajaj, in the 110cc-and-below segment, which clocks a monthly volume of about six lakh units. Honda sells 45,000-50,000 units a month in this segment.

YS Guleria, Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooters India (HMSI), says late entry, delay in acceptability of the brand in rural areas and declining share of entry bike category in overall industry volumes have been major barriers for its progress.

Shift to scooters

HMSI’s mass market bike entry began in 2012 with the launch of Dream Yuga. At that point of time, about half of total industry contribution came from the entry segment. But after that it has been steadily declining and has now dropped to 37 per cent, mainly due to increasing shift to scooters.

Even after launching more dealer outlets, the contribution started to come only after some time because rural buyers preferred to buy tried and tested products rather than a new brand. After its initial learnings, HMSI revamped the approach to appeal to entry-level bike customers. Stronger penetration through expanded dealer outlets, wide product range and regional communication programmes started to show results. It offers four products — three in Dream series and one Livo —in the entry segment.

Livo growth

“Though Livo is positioned in the top-end in terms of pricing, it is the one that is growing stronger. It is bought by the aspirational customers of rural India,” said Guleria. “Of course, it is not yet over as we have to review more and more about the entry-level buying trend,” he said adding, “HMSI will focus on promotional activities, especially in regional languages, consistently.”

Product push with consistent communication will be its key focus in the coming months.

The company hopes the recently launched scooter Cliq will create visibility about the Honda brand and help accelerate its entry bike sales in rural areas.

[“Source-timesofindia”]