Aug 3, 2013

5 Honda's Journey in India - Part I: Hare Vs. Tortoise

Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India (HMSI) in India.. the story so far

Back in 2007 according to me, the performance of Honda in India was pathetic. Its ambitions "Pulsar killer" the Unicorn was a dud, its other offering the 125 cc Shine was nothing to write about. It was a distant 4th (if I remember correctly) in terms of sales behind Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor.

But in 2013, a lot has changed. Honda is now 2nd in sales comfortably overtaking TVS and just edging out Bajaj a couple of months back. Also a lot of maturity has come in me. I am no more the "over enthusiastic commentator" of 2 wheeler (motorcycle) stuff in India.

Honda's Race in India: Race between the Hare and the Tortoise

Honda's story in India so far can be summarized in 3 points [1] Persistence [2] Luck / Favorable market conditions [3] Brand image of Honda in India.

[1] Persistence: Even if the Unicorn was initially perceived to be a flop compared to the Pulsar, Honda persisted with it. And over the years the conservative nature of the Unicorn has actually become it's USP and now appeals to the conservative customer looking for a sober 150 cc motorcycle. Another example would be the 125 cc Shine, which was again a conservative model when it was launched. But over the years, it has now become an aspirational model for a 100 cc customer.

[2] Luck / Favorable market conditions: Competitors like Bajaj by regularly changing, discontinuing its models just helped Honda's cause in India. Also the emerging Indian middle class suddenly realized how convenient and easy to ride was an automatic scooter and Honda with its Activa had a dream run for the better part of a decade without any major competitor.

[3] Brand Image: Honda has this image of "Quality" among Indians. Even though other brands like Yamaha, Suzuki etc might provide at par or even surpass the levels of quality in its products, it is Honda that has the "perception" of quality.

In a nutshell: Honda created a formidable position for itself in Automatic scooters, it persisted with the initial motorcycle launches which eventually have carved a niche position for itself. Honda's weakness in India during the initial days was its limited reach in terms of dealerships and the limitation in production. But in 2013, these no longer appears to be issues.

Like the "Tortoise", Honda so far seems to have made a strong impact thanks to its perseverance and good fortune. In the process also making someone like me eat his words that were uttered/typed in 2007.

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Sanket Kambli said...

true..! people trust a product that has been in that market for at least 2-3 years without any change.

Anonymous said...

its mistake from bajaj my friend xcd135 dont hav spares available and discontinued model and it includes digital speeedometer and led tail lamps....but shine,unicorn,activa just got engines last for ten years....but times changed now..recent discover engine with 4 valve heads are good ope they continue for ten more important aspect of bike clutch and gearbox honda and hero got quality along with yamaha and suzuki personally i feel gladiator,fz got best gearbox and clutch...this is where bajaj and tvs both failed..everyone want indian company to be top of tree

Anonymous said...

is there any chance that Kawasaki ninja will be manufactured in india?

Anonymous said...

dnt want honda to settle in india ..rise hero rise!!

Unknown said...

Its been a month, Post something new..

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