Honda India looking to develop a Royal Enfield contestant

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Honda Motor and Company, which has so far stuck to mass market commuters and a few performance motorbikes in the Indian market, now has its eyes set on the middle-weight motorcycle sector in here. Honda is said to have shaped a team of engineers to develop a motorbike in India, to contest with The Royal Enfield.
Noriaki Abe, CEO and president of Asian Honda Motor Company Ltd has revealed in an interview that Honda will be developing a worldwide middleweight motorcycle straight targeted at Royal Enfield. Abe, who presently heads Honda motorcycles in Asia, will take over as the CEO of Honda’s global motorcycle business from April 1, 2017.

“We have already assigned the people, some from Japan and some from Thailand to India to make a new middle-sized motorbike in India,” said Abe at the talk before indicating that the planned middle-weight motorcycle will contest with those from the Royal Enfield. He further went on to say, “If we can make that product, we can trade that to even Japan and other countries.”

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Royal Enfield has a cult status in the Indian market and attempts by other manufacturers to dethrone them in the 300 to 500 cc segment haven’t been very fruitful. Mahindra had tried with the Mojo and more lately Bajaj has tried with the Dominar, to eat into the sales of the Chennai-based motorcycle builder.

However, as explained in our Bajaj Dominar vs. Mojo comparison, the Royal Enfield market, though very accessible, is very hard to dominate. Honda already has 2 products in the 300 – 500cc power cruiser segment – the Rebel 500 and Rebel 300 motorcycles, sold in the United States market. But their decision to develop a new international product from scratch, in the same segment, shows how determined they are to compete with Royal Enfield