Turf war begins as Honda looks to roll over Bajaj with 100cc
At stake is the number 2 slot in the world’s second-largest two-wheeler market. And locking horns are domestic giant Bajaj Auto Ltd and Japanese automotive major Honda Motorcycle India Ltd (HMSI).autos Updated: May 13, 2012 23:55 IST
At stake is the number 2 slot in the world’s second-largest two-wheeler market. And locking horns are domestic giant Bajaj Auto Ltd and Japanese automotive major Honda Motorcycle India Ltd (HMSI).
On Tuesday, Honda will launch its most ambitious mobike yet, the 110-cc Yuga, which delves into the heart of the Indian motorcycle lover. This would be Honda’s first offering in the price-sensitive commuter segment, an area it was constrained to participate in when in a partnership with the Hero Group. A day before, Bajaj will unveil its new Discover, expected to hit directly at Honda's products in the 125-cc segment — Shine and Stunner. Last month, Honda sold more bikes in the segment than Bajaj.The gap between the two companies in India has narrowed over the last 6 months (see table). In 2011-12, while Bajaj sold 6.3% more two-wheelers in the domestic market at 25.7 lakh units than the previous year, Honda saw its sales grow by almost 29% to a little under 20 lakh units.
Ironically, it is the scooter segment, once a stronghold of Bajaj, that has given Honda the edge. The Japanese company is by far the largest-selling scooter brand in India (with a 48% marketshare). Scooter sales grew by 24.5% last year, more than double than that of motorcycles at 12%. Bajaj does not make scooters anymore.
“We are indifferent to the sale of scooters and mopeds of other manufacturers... for the month of April we continue to be the second largest 2-wheeler maker in India,” said K Srinivas, president, motorcycle business, Bajaj Auto Ltd. “With a number of new launches in the coming months, we are confident of outpacing industry in 2012-13.”
“We want to be the number one motorcycle manufacturing company in India, there is no doubt about it,” Keita Muramatsu, president and CEO, HMSI, had said during the New Delhi Auto Expo in January.