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Honda prefers gearless scooter ride
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Shinji Aoyama (right), president and CEO of HMSI, and Nabuhiko Takizawa, president (research and development), at the launch of the Honda Activa scooter in New Delhi on Friday. Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi, March 27: Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) will phase out the 150cc Eterno and exit the geared scooter market. The Japanese two-wheeler maker will focus on the gearless segment.
“We will stop producing the Eterno. We will not stay in this segment (geared scooter). Eterno will be phased out very soon,” said Shinji Aoyama, president and CEO of HMSI.
The company is selling only 40,000 units of the Eterno annually, said Aoyama.
On whether the company would introduce a new model to replace the Eterno, Aoyama said, “We will surely compensate with a substitute, but at the moment the new Activa is enough to take the challenge as it will give 15 per cent more mileage.”
Honda Motorcycles today launched an upgraded version of its gearless scooter Activa, which is priced Rs 39,800 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
With this rollout, the company said it was looking at an 18 per cent growth in two-wheeler sales in 2009-10.
For the current financial year, the Japanese company expects to record 17 per cent growth in sales at 10.6 lakh units.
“The Indian two-wheeler market witnessed a growth of 5 per cent in the current fiscal, whereas HMSI grew around 17 per cent in the same period. We expect to maintain this momentum,” said Aoyama.
“For the next fiscal, we have set a sales target of 12.5 lakh units for the Indian market, of which 7.4 lakh will be scooters and 5.1 lakh motorcycles,” he said.
The company has developed the new 110cc Activa to cater to the changing needs of customers.
“We are aiming at a further expansion of the scooter market with the new Activa and have set a challenging plan to sell 5.5 lakh Activas in 2009-10,” said N.K Rattan, head (sales and marketing) of HMSI.
Rattan said the company would add 100 outlets next fiscal to take the total to 750.
Earlier, HMSI had said it would invest Rs 300 crore over the next three years to expand its production capacities, besides introducing new models.
The company, which has a production facility at Manesar, has invested Rs 900 crore in its Indian operations.
HMSI also plans to introduce a 100cc bike in the next one year.