Honda to Double India Share in Global Motorcycle Sales

Honda Motor Co. (7267) expects to more than double India’s share in its global two-wheeler sales as the company adds small-engined motorcycles and opens outlets to widen reach in villages and towns.

“India will want more motorcycles as infrastructure grows, technologies improve and people’s incomes rise,” Keita Muramatsu, chief executive officer of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt., said in an interview in Mumbai yesterday. The Tokyo- based automaker will add 100-cc models and increase its penetration in rural markets, he said.

Honda, which in 2010 exited a 26-year partnership with Hero Group (HMCL), sold 1.99 million two-wheelers locally in the year ended March 31 surpassing TVS Motor Co. (TVSL) as India’s third-biggest seller of motorcycles, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The world’s biggest motorcycle maker will increase its outlets and service centers in the country to 2,000 by the end of March 2013 from 1,500 in the previous 12 months, Muramatsu said.

Honda expects sales in India to contribute 30 percent of its total two-wheeler volumes by 2020 from 13 percent at present, Muramatsu said.

Two-wheeler sales in India, the world’s biggest market after China, may climb by as much as 13 percent in the 12 months ending March 31, slowing from a 14 percent pace a year earlier, according to SIAM. Industrywide sales was 13.4 million units in the year ended March 31, according to the industry group. Hero MotoCorp Ltd., renamed after Honda sold its stake, is the nation’s biggest motorcycle maker.

Honda Motorcycle, which will open a new factory near Bangalore, in southern India in the first half of next year, introduced its cheapest motorbike in the Indian market, the 110- cc Dream Yuga in Mumbai yesterday, starting from 48,028 rupees ($857).

The company expects to sell 300,000 Dream Yugas by March 31, Yadvinder Guleria, vice president for sales, said at a press conference in Mumbai yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Siddharth Philip in Mumbai at sphilip3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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