Honda looks to recapture top spot in 125cc bike market from Hero MotoCorp

The exciting battle between the two stalwarts of the 125cc bike segment in India is underway. Honda with its CB Shine is looking to regain top spot from its arch rival, the Hero Glamour.

Amit Panday By Amit Panday calendar 13 Jul 2016 Views icon16684 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
The already intense battle between the Honda CB Shine and Hero Glamour commuter motorcycle variants is set to turn even more challenging.

The already intense battle between the Honda CB Shine and Hero Glamour commuter motorcycle variants is set to turn even more challenging.

In its effort to reinstate its leadership in the 125cc executive commuter motorcycle segment, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) plans to boost the production capacity of its CB Shine commuter models, thereby increasing its supplies in the local markets.

It is understood that the CB Shine variants were facing capacity restraints at HMSI’s Tapukara and Bangalore plants, where the models are currently manufactured.

Hero MotoCorp, with its segment bestseller Glamour variants, currently tops the 125cc motorcycle category. A comparative analysis of Hero MotoCorp’s and HMSI’s performance in the said category reveals that for the past 7-8 months, both the companies have been performing almost neck-to-neck, with Hero MotoCorp grabbing the top spot.

For FY2015-16, however, Honda stood as the leader with CB Shine models outselling Hero Glamour variants.

It can be seen in the table that Hero MotoCorp managed to outsell Honda by 131 units, claiming the leadership in the segment in December 2015, when the market had slowed down after the last festive season. Since February 2016, Hero has continued to retain its position in the category.

In June 2016, the largest two-wheeler manufacturer sold a total of 81,565 units in the 125cc segment, outselling Honda by a healthy volume of 7,279 units. Honda recorded sales of 74,286 units in the segment last month.

honda-vs-hero

Speaking to Autocar Professional recently in this context, YS Guleria, senior vice-president, sales & marketing, HMSI, said: “We have the prioritisation of what we need to produce on our production lines. Since now we have flexible manufacturing lines, we prioritise scooters within the existing production capacity since they have been growing faster with piling backlogs.”

It can be recalled that in November 2015, Honda had launched an all-new variant named CB Shine SP positioning it above the regular CB Shine variants. While the CB Shine SP was the 15th product under HMSI’s aggressive product launch strategy in 2015, the model was rolled out in three variants (drum brakes, front disc brake and combi-brake equipped variants) in the price range of Rs 60,000 – Rs 64,400 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The company was manufacturing the CB Shine SP models at its Tapukara plant, which soon saw 100 percent capacity utilisation of these 125cc motorcycles. Honda now plans to add the production of CB Shine SP models at its Bangalore plant, where it already rolls out its siblings.

“We brought the CB Shine SP last year to boost the sales for this model. Unfortunately, for the CB Shine SP, we reached peak capacity very soon. Now July-August onwards, we are adding this model at our Bangalore plant and you will see the recovery in the sales of the CB Shine model soon. We have received a lot of positive market response for the CB Shine SP. You may have noticed that we have not done any advertising for this model, there were no ATLs (above the line advertising) to promote it because we were running full capacity already. However, going forward these things will change. We will be now capable of supplying enough to match its demand,” added Guleria.

According to the company websites of both the two-wheeler manufacturers, while Hero MotoCorp’s Glamour retails in the range of Rs 56,175-Rs 65,850 (ex-showroom, Delhi; 3 variants), Honda’s CB Shine family trades between Rs 55,560 – Rs 64,932 (ex-showroom, Delhi; 6 variants).

Interestingly, while Hero’s top-end Glamour variant comes already equipped with fuel injection system, Honda’s most expensive CB Shine SP variant offers the combi-brake system for safety. It is understood that both the emission and safety features will soon become mandatory across respective categories in the two-wheeler industry.

Pulsar checks in

Last month, Autocar Professional had reported that Bajaj Auto has reduced the price of the smallest model in its Pulsar family, the 135cc Pulsar 135LS, in an attempt to draw customers from the 125cc motorcycle segment.

“The Pulsar 135LS offers several superior features as standard including a front disc brake, larger engine displacement with DTS-i technology, and superior power delivery among others. In comparison, the base variants of the Hero Glamour and Honda CB Shine come with drum brake fitments. This price-drop game-plan seems to be Bajaj Auto’s strategy to draw 125cc customers to the bigger engine displacement classes of 135cc and 150cc – the 134.66cc Pulsar 135LS, 149.5cc Bajaj V and 150cc Avenger Street 150 – all models running on proven air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder DTS-i engine technology,” quotes the report.

Bajaj Auto is understood to have dropped the ex-showroom price of Pulsar 135LS in the range of Rs 3,000 – Rs 4,000. According to Bajaj Auto’s website, while the Pulsar 135LS now retails for Rs 58,002 (ex-showroom, Delhi), its stylish commuter V15 sells for Rs 62,002 (ex-showroom, Delhi).

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