Honda 2Wheelers sees sustained demand, hopeful of robust 2021

New Delhi (IANS) Two-wheeler manufacturer Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India is hopeful of a demand recovery in 2021, on the back of lower industry base, new launches and a differentiated customer experience centres.

Accordingly, the company looks forward for further demand revival during the initial few months of 2021.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India's Director for Sales and Marketing Yadvinder Singh Guleria said the company expects to clock positive sales growth during Q4FY21.

"There should be some positive numbers for the industry as well as for Honda during Q4," he said.

"Last time, in similar quarter, the transition of BS4 to BS6 was taking place, so there was ramping down of BS4 models in terms of production dispatches to the network and the new models were being ramped up in production. During this transition industry had a lower base in Q4 of FY'20."

Honda had closed November 2020 with positive YoY growth momentum for the fourth month in a row.

Its domestic sales grew 11 per cent to 412,641 units in November 2020 as compared to 373,283 units a year ago.

Besides, Guleria disclosed company's plans for a couple of new launches during 2021.

"Despite the pandemic, Honda had gone ahead with all the new launches which we had planned for in 2020 including our totally new platform H'ness CB350 for our BigWing business."

"Moving forward in 2021, new models will be there from our side. There are couple of launches planned in the mass segment as well as in the BigWing business for which we have a dedicated exclusive network."

Furthermore, the company expects to open 50 BigWing dealerships across the country by the end of FY21.

Notably, Honda's premium motorcycle retail format is led by the 'BigWing Topline' in major metros and 'BigWing' in other demand centres.

While the marquee 'BigWing Topline' houses Honda's complete premium motorcycles range starting from H'ness CB350, 2020 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, 2020 CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and adventure tourer 2020 Africa Twin Adventure Sports; the 'BigWings' is stocked with mid-size motorcycles.

"In September, when we launched the product, we only had one BigWing and there was slight delay in construction of the new network due to Covid restrictions on construction activity across many towns in the country."

"However, the team has quickly recovered. In December, we already have 16 BigWing (5 Topline and 11 BigWing). Moving ahead, we hope to meet our plan of 50 new BigWing setup by March 31st, 2020."

At present, the company only has the H'ness CB350 being produced in India which are being stocked up at BigWing, whereas rest of the bikes are either assembled or imported as CBU in the country.

"We have lot of exciting models which are lined to expand our product portfolio in the BigWing."

"Once you are making some infrastructure which is giving a differentiated experience to the customer obviously it comes at a cost and we have a responsibility as a OEM that all those who are investing in this BigWing business for us, they do get their return on investment and one of the most important point would always be the expansion of product portfolio and that to made in India product not only CKD or CBU imported."

"There will be a couple of new launches in this category of 350-500 cc and above for the BigWing."

On the current demand scenario, he said December retail on a year on year basis "are slightly better in a single digit".

"Pent up demand is still there."

According to Guleria, positivity surrounding the arrival of anti-Covid vaccine in India will change the sentiments of the entire business eco-system.

"There is already a lot of gloom around so, it will change the mood and may impact the buying sentiments in the long term. So vaccine will bring in good news not only for the auto industry but for the entire ecosystem, everybody is looking forward to that positive announcement."

"However, looking forward till April things look positive but as we need to be very cautious as new situations are unfolding on a month on month basis or weekly basis."

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