Hero and Honda when were partners, they were a force to reckon with, not only in India but in the entire world. Now since the split in 2010, both are at fierce competition with each other to capture the maximum portion of the Indian two-wheeler market. While Hero still has a hold over the 110cc mass-market motorcycle market, Honda has easily captured the 125cc-160cc motorcycle as well as the scooter segments. But in a recent interview to ET Auto, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) president Minoru Kato stated that the company is planning to take that away from Hero too.
This comes at a time as Hero’s best selling bike, Splendor still retains its position as the largest selling motorcycle in India. In October 2018, 2,68,377 units of the Splendor were sold whereas in the second place was HF Deluxe that sold 2,00,312 units in the same month. Interestingly, both the brands belong to the same company, Hero. And when you put both their sales number together, you will find out that they both together have sold almost half a million units for Hero in October.
Hero’s feat in the motorcycle segment hasn't gone unnoticed by Honda. Although the Activa is the topmost selling two-wheeler in India for a long time now, Honda wants to capture the mass-motorcycle segment too. Livo and the Dream series are the current offerings of Honda in the 110cc motorcycle segment. On the other hand, the Splendor, the HF Deluxe, and the Passion are the options that Hero provides in this segment. But in the 125cc segment, they go head-to-head Honda with the CB Shine and Hero with the Glamour.
Kato, recognizing the customer inclination for the Splendor stated that Honda is working on improving its lineup of entry-level motorcycles. They will have higher fuel efficiency as well as better ride and handling characteristics. However, Kato explicitly asserted that the company does not plan on getting into the 100cc lower entry-level motorcycle segment. This segment is currently dominated by Bajaj with their CT 100 and Platina brand motorcycles.