Boost for Make in India: Honda to start producing high-end sports bike in India

The company is also setting up the world's largest 'only-scooter' making plant in Gujarat

FP Staff October 17, 2014 08:42:16 IST
Boost for Make in India: Honda to start producing high-end sports bike in India

In a big boost to prime minister Narendra Modi's make in India call, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) yesterday said that it would start producing its high-end sports bike CBR-650 in the country and also laid the foundation to set up its Rs 1,100 crore scooter manufacturing plant in Gujarat .

According to a PTI report, a top official of HMSI said in Ahmedabad the company will start production of its high-end sports motorcycle 'CBR-650' in the country from next year.

"We announce that (from) next year Honda will start making CBR -650 in India. By this, we will not only open up the skill of our existing manpower but it will also showcase the Honda India's manufacturing quality to the world," HMSI Vice-President Y S Guleria told reporters here on the sidelines of a foundation stone laying ceremony for its upcoming plant at Vithalapur in Ahmedabad district.

However, Honda is yet to finalise the facility it has in the country from where it will start manufacturing CBR-650.

Besides the upcoming unit at Vithalapur, Honda has a total of three plants in Haryana, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

When asked about the capacity of the Vithalapur plant, Guleria said that the quantum is yet to be decided.

"As of now, we have not decided on units as numbers are too small... and very quick decision can be taken, but we are not expecting very high volume," he said.

Guleria further said that the Japanese auto giant's purpose to start making CBR-650 bikes is in tune with the'Make in India' commitment of the company. Honda has also not finalised the price tag for the sportsbike for its Indian customers.

"The purpose (to start manufacturing the bike in India) is to build in India and also the affordability aspect will be considered for customers with Make in India commitment," he said.

CBR-650 is 649 cc sports bike with the four-cylinder double overhead camshaft (DOHC) engine technology and having the six-speed gearbox, as per the Honda website.

Meanwhile, a report in The Times of India, said the Vithalpur plant will be the world's largest 'only-scooter' producing unit. The unit is scheduled to start production by 2015-end and will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million units.

"The latent demand of automatic scooter is so strong that with improving infrastructure in rural India, we foresee that this segment sale can go up to 35 per cent of overall two-wheeler sales in 5-10 years horizon," another PTI report quoted HMSI President and CEO Keita Muramatsu as saying.

As the company gears up to take up this challenge of meeting customer demand, Gujarat will be an ideal home and a springboard to achieve greater heights, he added.

Honda Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Asia & Oceania Region, Noriaki Abe, said India is already a prioritymarket for Honda.

"In the current fiscal 2014-15, Honda aims to sell 18.2 million two-wheelers worldwide and for the first time, India will contribute almost 25 per cent to global Honda sales," he added.

Honda Motor Company Managing Officer Yoshiyuki Matsumoto said with the fourth plant, the company aims to reach closer to the vast market in West which contributes over 25 percent to Honda's business.

"The new plant will employ around 3,000 people within first two years of commercial production and will entail Rs 1,100 crore investment," he added.

The 1.2 million additional capacity would enhance the company's total annual production capacity in the country to 5.8 million units.

HMSI currently produces 1.6 million units at its Haryana plant, 1.2 million units at Rajasthan facility and another 1.8 million units at its third plant in Karnataka.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Finance MinisterSaurabh Patel, among other senior dignitaries from the Gujarat government.

With inputs from PTI

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