Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has become the first manufacturer to launch its second BS VI-compliant two-wheeler in India, the first being the Activa 125 FI. Today, the company launched the the SP 125 BS VI motorcycle. With prices starting at Rs 72,900 for the base model, the BS VI variant costs nearly Rs 9,000 more than the Rs 63,857 price-tag of the entry-level outgoing BS IV unit.
The same 124.73cc, air-cooled, single cylinder engine has been upgraded to BS VI-spec, and sees its power figure rise from 10.31hp 10.88hp. While the hike in power is marginal, the BS VI features electronic fuel-injection, which should translate to crisp and smooth throttle response. The updated engine is paired to a 5-speed transmission.
The commuter motorcycle also gets Honda’s new silent start feature – it does this by using an AC generator (or alternator) to start the bike, as opposed to a conventional stator, which makes the gear-meshing noise. The SP 125 also has a new fully-digital instrument cluster that showcases the bike's real-time fuel efficiency, distance to empty, gear-position indicator and more. The bike also gets an LED headlight and redesigned styling elements.
Honda has tweaked the dimensions of the new variant, increasing its overall length by 13mm to 2,020mm while the motorcycle's width has gone up to 785mm. The new SP 125 BSVI is also a tad taller, at 1,103mm, and has a 19mm increase in its wheelbase, which is now 1,285mm.
Honda has begun production for the new SP 125 BSVI and it will begin reaching dealerships towards end-November 2019.
Launching the new SP 125 BS VI in New Delhi today, Minoru Kato, President, CEO and Managing Director, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, said, “The SP 125 BS VI will raise the bar for technology, style and performance in the 125cc motorcycle segment.”
Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, HMSI said, “With Honda’s superior technology and many first-in-segment features, the SP 125 BS VI provides the best riding performance with 16 percent more fuel efficiency.”
According to Guleria, "We are constantly increasing our IP in India and have filed 19 new patents for the SP 125. Some of these include a combi-braking system (CBS) with equaliser and use of an alternating current starter generator (ACG) for a very seamless ignition of the engine."
"HMSI is a major player in the 125cc scooter segment in India with total sales of 8 million units in the market. We have invested a sum of Rs 2,400 crore in terms of the new model fee for this project along with other new platforms which are in the pipeline and slated for launch with BS VI. The money also includes tooling upgradation for BS VI production at our plant," he added. The SOP of the new BS VI-compliant SP 125 has begun at the company's third plant in Bangalore and it will be arriving at the company's dealerships by the end of this month.
Talking about retail performance in the last month, Guleria added, "HMSI observed an excellent response from our customers during the festive season and our dealers' inventory is now well under control and in the range of less than 30 days."
"However, we still do not see things turning positive in the next few months or so. The market forces are not in our control and we are very closely watching the scenario. We are not at full 100 percent capacity utilisation at our plants at the moment," he added.
With regard to its BS VI programme, HMSI says it is on schedule in terms of updating its product range to become compliant to the new norms kicking in from April 2020. "We have kept a lot of factors into consideration and will make a gradual transition of our portfolio. We are almost out of stock for the BS IV Activa 125 already. There is an increment of Rs 7,000 in the prices of the BS VI-compliant SP 125, compared to the earlier CB Shine 125 that it replaces. It's an 11 percent increase."
"While there would be a negative impact due to the rising costs initially, but from a long-term perspective the Indian market still holds potential. Demand will continue to grow in the two-wheeler segment in India," Guleria concluded.