Friday, June 22, 2007

HMSI in Indian Overdrive

With the motorcycle market being hit the hardest by interest rates, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India's newly appointed president & CEO Shinji Aoyama has many challenges to face.

From getting out of the shackles of the past labour problems to creating a strong Honda brand, Mr Aoyama has plans further strengthen the Honda brand.

What are the investment plans of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI)?

We plan to invest about Rs 400 crore in the next 4 years. This fund would be used for ramping up our marketing initiatives, expanding our current plant capacity and new product developments.

HMSI was looking at setting up a new plant in India? What are the updates on that?

There is no plan for setting up another plant as of now. We will ramp up capacity in our current plant from 9 lakh units to about 1.2 million units in the next four years.

What are the new models that you plan to launch in the near future?

We plan to launch a new scooter model by the end of this fiscal year. We are planning to launch a new motorcycle by the first half of the next year. This could be in the 125 cc segment and would be targeted at the young generation.

What are your plans for the volume segment or what we call the 100 cc segment?

Yes we plan to enter the volume segment in the next three years. But we would not be looking volumes initially. As we would not like to cannibalise the offerings from sibling company Hero Honda in this segment. We would be looking at distinctive products , something which is niche or is the premium 100 cc segment.

What is your current motorcycle and scooter volumes?

Currently we sell about 6 lakh units of scooters and 3 lakh units of motorcycles. Last month we sold about 73,000 units. We would add more models to our current scooter models Activa and Dio and our motorcycle models of Unicorn and Shine.

What are your plans for the big bike segment ? Do you think there is a market for such bikes and when do you plan to launch them ? How much would these bikes cost?

We are looking at importing big muscle bikes which would cost Rs 10 lakh and above. We are considering importing models like CBR 1000 and GLX 1800 to India. Yes there is a very niche market for big bikes that we plan to cater to by importing models.

Two years back HMSI faced one of the worst labour unrest in the history of automotive industry . What are the measures that you are taking to sort out matters?

Labour problems are a thing of the past.Last year we signed a labour settlement agreement with our permanent workers and now everything is working smoothly.This agreement is valid for the next three years.