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Honda's mass-market motorbike for India

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 02:10

May 15 - Japan's Honda, the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer, launches its first mass-market motorcycle in India. While in Tokyo, it shows off its latest personal mobility device. Joanna Partridge reports

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With some added Bollywood glamour, Honda's Dream Yuga is ready to zoom into India's mass market. The Japanese car and motorcycle maker hopes its cheapest motorbike yet will appeal to new customers in the emerging country. Despite being the world's biggest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda's struggled to make major inroads into fast-growing but price-sensitive countries like India, says Honda's head of bike marketing in the country. SOUNDBITE: MARKETING HEAD FOR HONDA MOTORCYCLES AND SCOOTERS INDIA, YADVINDER SINGH GULERIA, SAYING (English): "We want to sincerely increase Honda's brand presence in India, and since the 100-110 cc market still contributes to almost 50 per cent of the total two-wheeler industry, it's a very important segment for any manufacturer to be in." The 110cc bike will cost from $830. It will put Honda in direct competition with its former partner, and current market leader, Hero Motor Corp. And there's a big market for the bike makers to share - 10 million motorcycles were sold in India last year, second only to China. Honda's also building its third two-wheeler factory in India. And it hopes the country will account for 30% of its global motorcycle revenues by 2020, compared with 13% now. Honda isn't only focussing on motorbikes for future growth. It showed off an altogether more hi-tech product in Tokyo. The Uni-Cub balances itself as it travels and allows the passenger to move around with their hands-free. Honda Motor's Chief Engineer says it even absorbs the shock if you bump into something. SOUNDBITE: CHIEF ENGINEER AT HONDA MOTOR, KENICHI SUEDA, SAYING (Japanese): "We've been providing customers with 2-wheel and 4-wheel vehicles for their outdoor use and now we'd like to assist people moving around inside buildings." The Uni-Cub is the latest in a string of personal mobility devices, humanoid robots and jet aircraft from Honda. And Japan's Research Institute believes there's a big potential market as there are 10 million bicycles in the country. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Honda's mass-market motorbike for India

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 02:10