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Why you will have to wait for Honda's CX-01

May 06, 2014 17:00 IST

Why you will have to wait for Honda's CX-01

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Swaraj Baggonkar

Delhi-based Honda is increasing its focus on the entry level segment. So much so that it has put the potential launch of a big engine premium concept bike, the CX-01, on the back burner.

Honda, the biggest Japanese two-wheeler brand in India, is keen on expanding its portfolio of entry motorcycles with a planned addition in the coming weeks even as former partner turned rival Hero MotoCorp moves to fortify its market.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the country's third biggest two-wheeler producer, will add a new bike under the Dream series brand shortly which will be its third such product in that segment, sources said.

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Image: Honda's concept bike CX-01 was unveiled at the AutoExpo 2014 in New Delhi
Photographs: MotorBeam.com

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Sales under the Dream series (comprising Yuga and Neo) more than doubled last financial year helping HMSI to grow 36 per cent to 3.6 million units.

Honda's Dream series grew 116 per cent to 5.65 lakh units compared to 2.61 lakh units sold in 2012-13.

The entry bike segment (upto 110cc) is a 6.8 million units a year market commanding a share of 65 per cent. Though the segment grew just four per cent last year no manufacturer is ignoring it considering its size.

When asked if Honda would expand its product portfolio in the economy segment Y S Guleria, vice president (sale and marketing), HMSI said, "Keep your expectations high, we will explore more".

Entry bikes have a huge following in the rural markets where fuel efficiency influences purchasing decisions. These bikes are capable of delivering mileage of more than 60 kilometers per litre (kmpl) on an average going upto 85 kmpl.

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Image: Honda Dream Neo
Photographs: honda2wheelersindia.com

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Why you will have to wait for Honda's CX-01

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Delhi-based Honda is thus increasing its focus on the entry level segment so much so that it has put the potential launch of a big engine premium concept bike on the back burner.

The CX-01, a off and on road performance bike, which was unveiled at the Auto Expo was scheduled to go for 'fine tuning' before readying it for launch in 2015 or 2016.

The CX-01 is the first bike developed entirely by HMSI's own engineering division also based in India.

However, HMSI has instead opted to put more focus on the Dream series for coming period and expand its reach in the rural areas which will host two-thirds of Honda's 1,000 new sales outlets planned this year.

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Image: Honda Dream Neo


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Sensing trouble market leader Hero MotoCorp launched last month yet another variant of its top selling bike Splendor. Called the Splendor iSmart the bike gives more mileage with an 'intelligent' engine which switches off automatically during idling.

Hero presently commands a market share of 66 per cent in the entry level segment with ten models under its fold. Bajaj Auto is the second biggest player with a share of 17 per cent followed by HMSI with a share of 9 per cent and TVS Motors with a share of 5 per cent.

In March Honda's scooter Activa became India's biggest selling model in dethroning the Hero Splendor in the up to 110cc engine category.

One of the other reasons for the shift could be the tepid response HMSI has received for the CBR250, a 250cc performance bike. Last year it sold an average of 640 bikes a month compared to its earlier sales of more than 1,200 units a month.


Image: Honda Dream Yuga


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