Honda’s Royal Enfield rival reportedly won’t be the already existing Rebel cruiser as a new product is expected to be developed for a near future launch
Honda is looking to launch a Royal Enfield rival in the Indian market in the next three years. The second largest two-wheeler maker in the country, however, is yet to decide on which product type to lead the assault. Royal Enfield is the undeniable leader in the affordable retro motorcycle category with the Classic 350 being its bestseller.
Understanding the huge volume capability in the 350-400 cc segment, Bajaj Auto introduced the Dominar 400 which is modern than the Classic 350 in every way and certainly carries a VFM price tag considering the equipment it offers. The Pune-based manufacturer clearly had its eyes set on RE but despite being a capable motorcycle, the D400 could not yet replicate the enduring success of the Classic 350.
The segment will get only competitive in the near future as Mahindra could bring back the iconic Jawa brand into the market. While Royal Enfield’s upcoming 750 cc cruiser aims at the top-selling Harley-Davidson Street 750 in the premium scale, there are other manufacturers trying to rival the homegrown brand on its own turf including Honda.
Even from its international range, Honda does not have a direct RE competitor and in order to find a solution the steps are reportedly being taken. As the cruisers in US and Thailand markets would not be suitable for country like India, the situation could lead way to a Ducati Scrambler like product developed from Honda according to previous remours.
But, it won’t be ideal to challenge the Royal Enfield lineup due to the higher price range. Therefore, an India or emerging market specific cruiser in the capacity between 300 and 400 cc is necessary for the Japanese brand to expand its market share. While the Activa scooter reaps all the goods, the CBR 250 has been left with no significant updates for several years and the affordable CB range does deserve more enthusiastic punch with newer models.
While speaking on the sidelines of the Narsapura two-wheeler plant’s capacity expansion near Bengaluru, HMSI’s President and CEO Minoru Kato told that the RE-rival will be completely manufactured in India to price it competitively and the development will begin before the expected launch by 2020.
Admitting that the 300-400 cc segment is one of the toughest to compete, he seems to consider this growing space as vital for the brand’s hopes of becoming the leading two-wheeler maker by the end of this decade. While not revealing much details, he also stated that the bike will stand in contrast to the products from the global portfolio and be completely new.
Source: NDTV Auto