Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has launched its first BS-VI-compliant motorcycle — the SP 125, thus becoming the first two-wheeler manufacturer to have a scooter and a motorcycle which complies with the upcoming emission norm. Priced at `72,900, the new bike claims to give better riding experience and mileage.
Earlier, Honda became the first manufacturer to have a BS-VI compliant product in its line-up when it launched the new Activa in September this year. The updated version of the scooter, the company said, has received overwhelming response with sales clocking over 25,000 units so far.
Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, HMSI, said, “With Honda’s superior technology and many first in segment features — SP 125 BS-VI provides the best riding performance with 16 per cent more fuel efficiency.”
Even as the bike is dearer by almost `9,000 over the Honda CB Shine SP 125, the automaker believes that the new feature will appeal to the buyers. While bookings have been initiated, the company plans to commence deliveries by the end of this month.
Honda also informed it has stopped production of the BS-IV version of the new launch and will continue to cut down production of all BS-IV versions of its other products well before the April 1, 2020 deadline.
However, the transition which will make two-wheelers dearer by 10-15 per cent at a time when India’s growth story is facing numerous challenges is expected to have a long term impact on demand. “Spike in insurance cost last September, new braking norms and upcoming emission norms have significantly increased the ownership cost… Though we believe in India’s long term growth story, demand may remain under pressure in the near term,” Minoru Kato, President, CEO & Managing Director of HMSI, said.
According to Guleria, the economic parameters in India have not improved much for the domestic automotive industry to witness a turnaround any time soon. Consumer sentiment continues to remain muted in rural as well as in urban market. Tight liquidity supply post the NBFC crisis also remains a concern, he added. Owing to this two factors primarily, Moody’s Investor Services has also cut down India’s growth forecast to 5.6 per cent, from its earlier 5.8 per cent.
Notwithstanding the challenges, Honda said it had a better-than-expected festive season with retail sales growing in double-digit figure. The firm is confident that demand for scooters would shoot up again as there is still a large untapped market for them. It is also bullish on the premium segment and plans to launch new super bikes in April-May next year.