Being prepared is half the battle won, they say. That's a strategy what Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) seems to be following as it readies to take on the incoming onslaught from Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company in the 125cc scooter category.
Earlier today, HMSI launched the new Grazia with prices starting at Rs 57,897 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base Standard variant. Bookings for the new scooter, which is available in three trim levels, had begun on October 25.
Honda’s Activa 125 and Suzuki’s Access 125, along with the Vespa 125 models positioned at the premium end, are the only scooter models currently manufactured and retailed in the surging 125cc scooter sub-segment. This, however, is expected to change from H2 FY2017-18.
It can be recalled that Autocar Professional had previously reported that India’s largest two-wheeler company, Hero MotoCorp, and country’s second largest player in the scooter space, TVS Motor Company, have both lined up 125cc scooter models for the domestic market. These all-new scooter models, understood to put premium features on offer once launched, are expected to roll out during Q3 and Q4 this fiscal.
Honda, which remains the undisputed leader in the surging scooter segment in India, has launched the Grazia not only to counter the incoming competition but also to consolidate its existing portfolio in the 125cc sub-segment.
HMSI currently retails three variants of its Activa 125 including the standard variant, standard alloy and deluxe variants. According to the company website, the Activa 125 Standard variant retails for Rs 58,410 (ex-showroom, Pune).
L-R: HMSI's senior VP Yadvinder Singh Guleria; president and CEO Minoru Kato; and Atsushi Ogata, GM, Honda Motor Co.
Grazia guns for the urban scooter buyer
The Grazia, which Honda calls the ‘Urban Advanced Scooter’, becomes the second 125cc scooter in the company’s stable after the Activa 125 and its seventh scooter model. With its pricing, the Honda Grazia will goes head to head against the Suzuki Access 125, which has a sticker price that starts at Rs 54,163.
To ensure its premiumness, the Grazia gets a large, V-shaped LED headlight which is a segment first and promises powerful illumination. The scooter gets a new instrument cluster with a digital readout, which includes a speedometer, trip meter, odometer, fuel gauge, clock and also a tachometer. The Grazia features a four-in-one lock as well, which includes a seat opener function. It also gets a unique utility pocket meant for mobile phones.
The front end gets a telescopic fork that leads to a 12-inch wheel, where braking duties are carried out by a 190mm disc on the top-spec Deluxe variant. The 12-inch front wheel is shod in 90/90 rubber while the 10-inch rear wheel gets a 90/100 tyre. The scooter also features Honda’s Combi-brake System.
The Grazia, which weighs 107kg, is powered by a BS-IV compliant 125cc, single-cylinder HET engine that develops 8.6hp and 10.54Nm of torque, and is mated to a CVT. This is the same powertrain used on the Activa 125. The fuel tank on the Grazia has a 5.3-litre capacity, which should translate to a decent range.
The Grazia is available in six colours – metallic orange, gloss black, red, white, metallic grey and metallic blue.
Speaking at the launch in Mumbai today, Minoru Kato, president and CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, said, “In the last 16 years, Honda 2Wheelers India has grown exponentially from a humble 54,000 units in the first year, to over 300,000 scooter sales in a single month now. In the premium scooter segment, the Grazia is the most advanced scooter in its category with many industry-first features like LED headlamp, and fully digital meter with three-step speed Eco speed indicator.”