Tokyo: Japanese auto major Honda is working to launch more fuel efficient two-wheelers in India to strengthen its presence post its split up with erstwhile partner Hero Group.

The company, which is enhancing its research and development centre in India, is also developing a 125 cc scooter to be introduced for the first time in the country.

"Honda has the largest share (of two-wheelers) in the world. However, in India we are still number four. So, we are challenger in Indian market," Honda R &D Co President, CEO and Representative Director Yoshiharu Yamamoto said here.

 Stating that the demand for models with good mileage is high in India, he said: "We need to introduce more products which Indian people want on a timely manner...We want to introduce more and more products which have very good fuel efficiency."

Yamamoto said the company is working to improve the fuel efficiency of its existing models and "will also introduce new models as well, particularly in the scooter segment".

After the break up with Hero Group, the company is stressing on need to widen product portfolio, particularly in the small scooter segment both in the upper and lower end of the market in India.

"In the past, we have been working with the Hero Group. Now, we have terminated the contract. So far, we had Hero Honda as brand. Now we have to be only Honda," Honda R & D Co Ltd Director, Managing Officer Director Tetsuo Suzuki said.

Last year, Honda and the Hero Group decided to end their 26-year-old joint venture Hero Honda and the Indian partner bought out the Japanese firm's entire 26 per cent stake for Rs 3,841.83 crore.

Since there is clear distinction between the upper and lower range, the company needs to focus on both from now on, he added.
While Suzuki did not give much detail on the kind of models the company plans to launch in India, he said Honda is currently developing a 125 cc engine scooter for the Indian customers.

 "Currently, we are developing a 125 cc scooter engine. It  will go into the Indian market," he said but did not specify when the company will launch it in India.

At present, the company's wholly-owned arm, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India(HMSI) only sells 110 cc engine scooters under the brands like Activa, Aviator and Dio. In 2009 the company had decided to phase out its geared 150-cc scooter Eterno due to falling sales.

As part of its expansion plans in India, the Honda is also in the process of enhancing its research and development centre at Manesar in Haryana and is looking to hire more engineers.

"We have a motorcycle R&D in India but that is not enough. We are now constructing a new building near the previous one. For this we require more Indian engineers. The centre will have more advanced technology," Yamamoto said.

He, however, declined to give details on the number of more people the company plans to hire as part of the expansion plan.

HMSI has two plants in India with a total capacity of around 22 lakh units. It is in the process of setting its third plant in Bengaluru. After the commercial production of the third plant, the company expects to touch its total capacity to 40 lakh by first half of 2013.

The company sold 16.56 lakh units in the last fiscal. By the end of the current fiscal HMSI aims to sell 21 lakh units and register a growth of 27 per cent over
 last year.
Tokyo: Japanese auto major Honda is working to launch more fuel efficient two-wheelers in India to strengthen its presence post its split up with erstwhile partner Hero Group.

The company, which is enhancing its research and development centre in India, is also developing a 125 cc scooter to be introduced for the first time in the country.

"Honda has the largest share (of two-wheelers) in the world. However, in India we are still number four. So, we are challenger in Indian market," Honda R &D Co President, CEO and Representative Director Yoshiharu Yamamoto said here.

 Stating that the demand for models with good mileage is high in India, he said: "We need to introduce more products which Indian people want on a timely manner...We want to introduce more and more products which have very good fuel efficiency."

Yamamoto said the company is working to improve the fuel efficiency of its existing models and "will also introduce new models as well, particularly in the scooter segment".

After the break up with Hero Group, the company is stressing on need to widen product portfolio, particularly in the small scooter segment both in the upper and lower end of the market in India.

"In the past, we have been working with the Hero Group. Now, we have terminated the contract. So far, we had Hero Honda as brand. Now we have to be only Honda," Honda R & D Co Ltd Director, Managing Officer Director Tetsuo Suzuki said.

Last year, Honda and the Hero Group decided to end their 26-year-old joint venture Hero Honda and the Indian partner bought out the Japanese firm's entire 26 per cent stake for Rs 3,841.83 crore.

Since there is clear distinction between the upper and lower range, the company needs to focus on both from now on, he added.
While Suzuki did not give much detail on the kind of models the company plans to launch in India, he said Honda is currently developing a 125 cc engine scooter for the Indian customers.

 "Currently, we are developing a 125 cc scooter engine. It  will go into the Indian market," he said but did not specify when the company will launch it in India.

At present, the company's wholly-owned arm, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India(HMSI) only sells 110 cc engine scooters under the brands like Activa, Aviator and Dio. In 2009 the company had decided to phase out its geared 150-cc scooter Eterno due to falling sales.

As part of its expansion plans in India, the Honda is also in the process of enhancing its research and development centre at Manesar in Haryana and is looking to hire more engineers.

"We have a motorcycle R&D in India but that is not enough. We are now constructing a new building near the previous one. For this we require more Indian engineers. The centre will have more advanced technology," Yamamoto said.

He, however, declined to give details on the number of more people the company plans to hire as part of the expansion plan.

HMSI has two plants in India with a total capacity of around 22 lakh units. It is in the process of setting its third plant in Bengaluru. After the commercial production of the third plant, the company expects to touch its total capacity to 40 lakh by first half of 2013.

The company sold 16.56 lakh units in the last fiscal. By the end of the current fiscal HMSI aims to sell 21 lakh units and register a growth of 27 per cent over
 last year.

(Agencies)