Honda targets rural India with BS VI Livo 110 commuter bike

by Mayank Dhingra 30 Jun 2020

Will the new Livo and the recently launched CD Dream 110 give Honda a new charge in the rural India market?

Two-wheeler manufacturer Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) today launched its 110cc motorcycle – the Honda Livo – in its BS VI avatar. The commuter motorcycle has a price tag starting at Rs 69,422, ex-showroom, Jaipur, for the base drum-brake variant.

The new Livo 110 comes equipped with the updated BS VI 110cc powerplant, which now boasts of Honda’s PGM-FI fuel-injection technology as well as its array of mechanical upgrades brought about under the ‘enhanced smart power (eSP)’ suite of engine enhancements.

Foremost, the eSP package utilises an ACG starter generator which offers start-stop functionality to the motorcycle, as well as minimises starting noise. Secondly, Honda has managed to optimise friction between the piston and cylinder by offsetting the cylinder and using a roller rocker arm with a needle bearing that minimises frictional losses for a smooth power output. Furthermore, the company claims that the piston cooling jet also improves cooling efficiency and maintains optimum engine temperature to further aid performance.

HMSI has also introduced a few new features to the Livo, some of which include the new DC headlamp, an integrated start-stop switch as well as integrated headlamp beam and passing switch on the handlebar.

Eyeing the rural market
The new Livo 110 is the second commuter motorcycle from the company to have been introduced as a BS VI-compliant version within a span of four weeks, when it had last launched the BS VI CD Dream 110 on June 1.

Clearly, HMSI is betting big on its BS VI technology and aims to allure customers in the Tier 2 towns and rural areas with its updated products.

As a result, it is adopting the strategy of offering utility features in its products and while the pricing may look steep compared to the competition, Honda is confident that it will be able to allure buyers by solving their pain points as well as offering them technologically-advanced products.

In a recent interaction with Autocar Professional, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, director, Sales and Marketing, HMSI, said, “We at Honda do not have any kickstart variant as of now even in our 110cc motorcycles. Moreover, the DC headlamp is meant to offer enhanced safety to the rider riding in the tough rural conditions.”

New 3+3-year warranty
The company has also offered new graphics on the body panels of the Livo 110 as well as provided a refreshed digital-analogue instrument cluster. Moreover, as with all its other BS VI products, HMSI is offering the Livo with a unique 3+3-year warranty package and aims to instil confidence in customers regarding the BS VI technology.

According to Guleria, “The ACG start (silent start) along with an industry-first 3+3-year warranty package offers a lot of value-add from our side to give confidence on the BS VI technology to the customer.”

As regards customer aceptability towards new BS VI vehicles, Guleria mentioned, “I would say that the time to judge the real customer response is now as until March, the customer had an option to buy either BS IV or BS VI.

“We are confident that Honda products have an edge in terms of the technology in the BS VI era and this technology will revolutionise even the customer preferences because we are not only meeting the BS VI regulations, but have gone all out to offer a complete change in our product attributes.”

85-90% business revival in June
HMSI, which is currently witnessing business at its showrooms reach to levels as high as 85-90 percent of the pre-lock-down volumes, is taking all precautionary measures with respect to sanitisation and social distancing to offer a safe buying experience to customers.

“By end-May more than 90 percent of our dealerships had re-opened and simply put the retail sales were beyond our expectations. We are currently seeing a similar trend in June with many of our dealerships already reaching up to 85-90 percent levels of their pre-lock-down sales.”

“While, this could also be pent-up demand, it needs to be watched closely before we could consider it as a long-term trend. But, so far, it is encouraging to see that the customer has come back because in this last one month, a lot of effort has also been put in by our dealers at the local level in order to conform to the new safety and hygiene guidelines,” Guleria remarked.

The company is currently functioning on a single-line, single-shift basis at all of its four plants and had despatched 54,000 units from its factories to dealers in the month of May. “Going forward, July and August is the time when we will have to start looking at the ramp up,” Guleria concluded.

Also read: Honda targets demand for 125cc scooters, launches new Grazia 125 at Rs 73,336