Business / Corporate

Honda aggressively expands motorcycle operations in India

Nna/kyodo

Honda Motor Co., the world’s top motorcycle manufacturer, is strengthening operations in India by stepping up research and development and expanding its sales network.

“Our global and Indian R&D teams are working together to strengthen our product portfolio for the Indian market which has become the No. 1 market for Honda’s two-wheeler business worldwide,” accounting for 32 percent of overall two-wheeler sales, said Atsushi Ogata, general manager of the business planning division for Honda’s motorcycle operations.

At a recent news conference in Mumbai for the launch of the Grazia, Honda’s new advanced urban scooter, Ogata said the company will form a specialized team of experts to reinforce its intellectual property rights in India.

“This team of experts shall be working to protect and enhance Honda technology for its new product introduction,” Ogata said, adding that of the 5,000-plus patents the Japanese firm holds, 400 have been registered in India.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary, is the second-largest seller of two-wheelers in India after rival Hero MotoCorp Ltd. But Honda leads the scooter segment, which constitutes a third of the nation’s entire two-wheeler market, with a 57.6 percent share in the April-October period this year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Honda’s local unit holds patented technologies used in its two-wheelers, including the Grazia.

“With scooterization currently being driven by Honda in India, we are offering the new model with some patented technologies used for the first time in the country,” Ogata said.

The subsidiary has assembled a special team to adapt to BS-VI, a new emissions standard to be introduced throughout the country in April 2020, and is strengthening quality and product planning with cost-competitiveness.

Honda also plans to aggressively expand its sales network in the country, adding 500 outlets with special emphasis on semi-urban and rural areas for a total of 5,700 by the end of the fiscal year ending next March, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice president of sales and marketing of the local unit, said.