Y S Guleria, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, accepts the award for the CB300R.
The CB300R is brilliant, both on the road as well as on the track. What’s the feedback been like from the market?
Initially, we planned to sell around 500 units, but we’ve already sold for more than 550 and we’re holding 125-plus bookings as of today. And all this is happening from only the 22 outlets from where we’re currently selling and servicing the product. So, we’re very happy with the response. And thanks to our production team, in a very short time, we’ve been able to bring this into the market in CKD form in order to make it more affordable to our customers. So, this neo cafe racer concept has really caught the fancy of our customers. There have always been a lot of enthusiasts of Honda bikes, who were looking for something in the middleweight category, and the CB300R fits the bill perfectly.
So, are the numbers good enough to justify producing this bike here?
Yes, but right now our focus is the transition of BS-VI. So, only after April will we consider ramping up production. We are also expanding our network to sell and service these bikes. And as the new Silver Wing network for our premium bikes takes shape, we’re very sure that additional demand will follow. But, of course, we’re studying the idea of mass-producing the bike in India.
How difficult was the transition to BS-VI for a model like the Activa?
Seeing the R&D capability of Honda globally, it’s not difficult as such. The only thing was that the BS-VI timelines were preponed, whereas our schedule – in terms of our tooling, and that of our vendors, etc. – was lined up for a particular timeline. But we’re very happy that the Activa has become the first BS-VI two-wheeler on the market. And the kind of response that the Activa 125 BS-VI has gotten in the market is overwhelming for us – so we’re completely satisfied.
What is the price implication of the BS-VI transition?
In the Activa 125 BS-VI, it’s in the range of 11% to 14% from the low-end to the top-end variant. Our expectation is anywhere between 10% to 15% for our entire range. But this is a big opportunity for us, because not only are we going to meet BS-VI regulations, but we’re also going to offer a host of features to our customers as a complete BS-VI package.
There’s been a lot of talk on the EV front in the two-wheeler space, especially in regards to a 2025 timeline, what are your thoughts on that?
One thing that’s been made clear by the Government is that there is no 2025 deadline, but, at the same time, EV technology is something that is already available with Honda in our scooters. So, we are planning to do a study for our existing electric scooters starting from the first quarter of the next financial year, and based on the outcome of that we’ll further refine our EV roadmap for the future. As of now, there are no plans to launch as such.
HMSI’s long standing goal has been to be number one in India. How are you progressing towards that goal?
When you’re a global leader, there is always this goal. And yes, as far as the customer mindset and trust in the brand is concerned, we are already number one! We have been rated as the most trusted two-wheeler brand in the country, and we’re proud of that. Our customer base is increasing year-on-year. It’s already at 45-million-plus customers in the Indian market. So, we have to build on this base further. But there is still a lot of homework that we need to do, especially in the rural market – and we will continue to work more on that. We are working very hard to provide the customer with a totally differentiated experience, especially in regards to after-sales, so we expect that not only will they continue to rate us as being the most trusted brand, but this will also translate into realising larger numbers as well.
Also read - Honda CB300R, Track Test