Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd (HMSI), the country’s second largest two-wheeler company, is shifting its focus to premium motorcycles, the company said on the sidelines of the EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan.

As part of its renewed focus on the premium motorcycle category, which comprises bikes powered with engines above 250cc, HMSI plans to add five new models next fiscal to its existing portfolio of six motorcycles. It also plans to foray into new categories, begin local manufacturing of some models that are currently imported via completely knocked down (CKD) and completely built units (CBU) and expand its premium bike dealership network to 75 cities from 23 now.

The company set up a dedicated business vertical for big bikes in April this year. HMSI’s current CKD and CBU portfolio comprises of 300cc – 1800cc motorcycles that come with price tags ranging from 2.42 lakh to 28.26 lakh, ex-showroom.

The company said it also plans to update the existing premium motorcycles with new global editions.

Earlier, parent Honda Motor Japan unveiled its 2020 lineup for the European market, underscoring the global two-wheeler manufacturer's intent to renew its 1-liter superbike portfolio. Apart from re-engineered 125cc and 150cc scooters, Honda also unveiled all-new adventure touring 1100cc CRF1000L Africa Twin, 1000cc Fireblade series, and the roadster CB1000R and 500cc Rebel series.

Amongst these, Honda will bring to India three 1000cc superbikes – the Africa Twin, the Fireblade, and the neo sports street model CB1000R.

HMSI sold 236 units of premium bikes--above 250cc--last fiscal, up 36% year-on-year. Notably, it sold 85 units of the 1800cc Goldwing cruiser - its most expensive offering in India last year.

In first half of the current fiscal, HMSI sold 588 units of its premium motorcycles compared with 137 units sold during the year-ago period. The three-fold growth this fiscal has been driven by its latest offering, the 286cc CB300R, which is imported as CKD units from Honda factories based in Thailand and Japan. It has already sold more than 420 units of the CB300R in the first two quarters, according to data from Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The company said it will primarily cater to aspiring young urban riders who are looking to upgrade to premium bikes.

As part of its new focus, HMSI is also evaluating local manufacturing of select premium models for export.

The reporter is in Italy on the invitation of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd

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