Despite forming a team last year to find solutions for rivalling Royal Enfield range, Honda has not finalised on any product yet
Royal Enfield is a dominant force in the Indian market having had plenty of success over the years with its entry-level retro motorcycles. One of its biggest strengths is the rich history in story telling and being unique among other manufacturers has always played to its advantage. RE is taking the next step with its 650 twins to rival premium brands like Harley Davidson and Triumph.
The homegrown brand has endured phenomenal increase in volumes in recent years with its 350 range that is more accessible to customers. Despite the efforts from several new companies, Royal Enfield relatively remains a monopoly in its segment and it’s a key reason why the resurgence of Jawa Motorcycles next month has been talked about in large measure.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has long been anticipated to bring up a competitor or two with the Rebel cruiser series being tipped with all the relevancy but according to an internet report, the company is still on the hunt for a challenger. It has been vocal about expanding beyond addressing budget customers but nothing has come to fruition yet.
The second largest two-wheeler firm in India acknowledges the significance of the segment Royal Enfield has its firm foot on, but is yet to finalise a product assault. In the midst of conducting customer surveys and product development, and constantly monitoring the segment, Honda has not decided on anything yet, said Minoru Kato, HMSI President and CEO.
In 2017, Honda organised an internal team to conclude on the possible solutions to rival Royal Enfield. Rumours have it that the Japanese brand could have considered developing a scrambler, or a modern day roadster based on Ducati for the domestic market. However, the biggest problem lies within its existing range and the scooters outselling motorcycles by and large.
Honda offers engines between 110 cc and 250 cc targetting mass-market buyers and it would need a whole new project to defy the customary range. It heavily relies on Activa, which recently crossed a massive 2 crore sales, for its success and it definitely needs new motorcycles for sustained growth in the near future.
The potential RE rival could well induce a new breath of air into its domestic range but Honda has to react sooner than ever. The latest developments point towards an India-specific product as previously reported but we would have to wait and see how it unfolds!